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" Ay me ! what perils do environ 
The man who meddles with cold iron !" 





1868. "" ....... 






JK 1931 I* 



• » 

• «• 

* » 


The age of duelling, like that of chivalry, may be 
said to be past for ever in England; but there is a 
lingering romance about the subject, which will always 
invest it with interest. 

The topic rings of the time when notions of honour 
may, indeed, have been false ; but they served a pur- 
pose in the absence of better laws, better police, 
better taste, and better manners. The history of 
» w duelling necessarily includes that of the manners and 
I « morals of epochs; and not only that, it is noto- 
riously connected with the politics and dynastic strug- 
^ gles of nations, especially in France and England. 
^ Moreover, the subject recommends itself for consi- 
"O deration as an institution, if not as venerable as others 
that still exist among us, at any rate one that was 
deemed sufficiently well-founded to number among its 
followers the most distinguished men of England and 


France — even the Duke of Wellington, who seems 
not only not to have disapproved of duelling,* but 
even honoured it with his example. In no country, 
France excepted, has duelling been more in vogue 
than in England and Ireland ; and in its palmy days. 
Sir Jonah Barrington declared that *^ as many as two 
hundred and twenty- seven official and memorable 
duels were fought during his grand climacteric/^ 

Nor is it evident that the spirit of duelling is quite 
dead among us, if we have succeeded in ^^ putting 
down^^ the practice. Doubtless it will startle the 
reader to learn that in the month of February, 1 868, 
a challenge to a hostile meeting was sent by an En- 
glishman in England to a fellow-countryman If This 
gallant Volunteer officer appears not to have been 
aware that he rendered himself liable to be ^^ cashiered , 
or otherwise punished,^' according to the standing orders 
of our present Code of Honour. J 

But if the sword and the pistol have ceased to 
vindicate the honour of Englishmen in personal 
combat, if duelling has been decidedly ^* put down,^^ 
abolished by Act of Parliament, rigorously applied 
by the Judges, and strengthened by the verdicts 

* See Vol. II., p. 270. 

t Mr. William Turpie, manager of the Derby and Derbyshire 
Bank, and captain in the Derby Volunteers, was summoned for 
sending a challenge to fight Mr. T. E. Hutton, recently acting as 
cashier at the same bank; and Mr. Turpie was bound over to 
keep the peace. 

X See Vol. II., p. 366, of the present work. 


of juries, — ^in fine, if sarcasm, ridicule. Christian and 
ptilosophical argument have ^^ settled the question?^ 
here with, us, — ^it is not so abroad. The duello is still 
very active and stirring among our gallant neigh- 
bours, tlie French. Quite recently, in October, 1867, 
there was a hostile meeting, under the eyes of the 
Imperial Eagle, between two of the highest in the 
land — the Prince Achille Murat (of glorious pedigree) 
and the Marquis de Rouge, in which the latter was 
wounded. Finally, in the month of March of the pre- 
sent year, we read of a duel at Nice, between Baron 
de Lareintz and Captain de Lapelin, of the French Navy, 
commander of the division on that part of* the coast. 
The duel was with swords. In the first attack both com- 
batants were slightly wounded — ^the Baron in the hip, 
the other in the breast; in a second onset the Baron 
was touched in the collar-bone, and the aflfair ended. 

In France, nobles, officers and soldiers, gentlemen, 
editors of newspapers, (a fighting crew with pen or 
sword and pistol), butchers, bakers, grocers, all are 
ready to ^^ go out ^^ for the point d'honiieur, and none 
of the gallant brotherhood of braves are ashamed of 
each other, or deem any association or companionship 
'^ ridiculous ^^ in such a cause. There is hardly a regi- 
ment in the garrison of Paris which has not its pro- 
fessed duellist, officer or private ; hardly a member of 
the Jockey Club who has not made homicidal excur- 
sions to Vincennes or St. Germain ; hardly a journalist 
who has not been compelled, at some time or another. 


to defend his principles at the point of the sword. 
M. Jdrome^s remarkable picture of the ^ Duel after the 
Ball^ — showing one of the parties run through the 
body, in his masquerade garb of clown — is no artistic 
dream in France ; and throat-cutting is still considered 
an appropriate wind-up to the festivities of the Oar- 
nival, just as cock-fighting used to be in England on 

The most revolting feature about French duels, is 
the apparently trifling causes which lead men, pro- 
fessing to be gentlemen and Christians, to hack and 
hew at one another as though they were wild Indians. 
A misapprehended joke, an adverse criticism, a colli- 
sion in a waltz, a flask of champagne, or a ballet- 
dancer^s shoe, are all deemed sufficient, in Parisian 
society, for the commission of ^^ wilful murder,^^ as 
our law declares it to be, although, in strict morals, 
there must be a prodigious diflference between ^^ mur- 
der,^^ strictly so called, and the death of a man deli- 
berately fighting a duel. The famous case of Mr. Dil- 
lon (killed in a duel only five years ago) is still fresh 
in the memory of men, and it should be well considered 
by all Englishmen who sojourn in the Queen of Cities. 
It is a ^^lesson,^^ and will be found treated as such in 
this work.* 

Such being the case, we can still talk of duelling 
as a thing of the present day ; and as our countrymen 
are getting more and more fond of travelling in la 

* See Vol. XL, p. 374. 


Belle France f and mixing with her mercurial sons of 
all degrees, perhaps it may be advisable to refresh 
thek memories, or to inform their understandings, 
with the fects and processes of the duello, in case they 
may ever get involved in some delicate aflFair in which 
" things must take their course /^ without the addi- 
tional fear of horrid arrest by buriy policemen, and a 
still more horrid trial at the Old Bailey, or elsewhere, 
with small mercy to expect from the big wigs, the 
juries, the indignant and facetious press, and the 
horrified public at large. They manage things other- 
wise, if not better, in France. Duelling, if not abso- 
lutely permitted, is certainly tolerated, especially 
among the military.* 

In connection with duelling, the method of practice 
to secure proficiency, and the routine of a duel must 
always claim attention as parts of the subject; but 
this matter has never, hitherto, attracted the notice 
of the historians of the chivalric institution. It will 
be found that I have gone thoroughly into the in- 
teresting topic, both from personal recollection and 
with the aid of the experience of other writers. 

The general subject of duelling has occupied several 
writers both in England and in France; among the 

* The Penal Code does not expressly treat of duelling, but, 
in the view of the legislator, the chapter on crimes and mis- 
demeanours against the person were to be applied to it, and this 
has of late years been enacted by the Court of Cassation, the 
seconds being treated as accomplices, and the family of the 
person killed having a right of action for damages. 

VOL. I. h 


latter may be mentioned Caucliy, Bataillard^ Genaudet, 
Fougeroux de Campigneulles, in 1836, and more re- 
cently, Colombey ; among the former, besides several 
practical writers on the subject, we have Moore^s 
^Full Inquiry,' pubHshed in 1790, Gilchrist's ^ Brief 
Display,' in 1821, Dr. MHlingen's ^History of Duel- 
ling," published in 1841, and two or three smaller 
works more or less interesting. 

Millingen's ^History of Duelling,' although not 
without its merits, was defective, even at the time of 
its appearance, as a chronicle of remarkable duels, and 
in some of the important particulars of hostile meet- 
ings. His chief sources were the ^ Histoire des Duels ' 
by Fougeroux de Campigneulles, and Gilchrist's col- 
lection, the latter being a digest, as far as British 
duels are concerned, from the ^ Gentleman's Magazine ' 
and the ^ Annual Eegister.' 

In the present work, I have had recourse to many 
other sources; have introduced several remarkable 
duels not to be found in any other collection ; recti- 
fied many improperly described, and, moreover, related 
not a few from personal remembrance in my youth, 
and which, I think, will be found not the least in- 
teresting and romantic in the collection, endeavouring 
throughout to perform my task in a manner which 
inspires the hope that the reader will be able to ^^ point 
the moral " of every tale, which I have not attempted 
to ^^ adorn." 






































At the present day no arguments are required to 
demonstrate the wickedness and absurdity of Duelling. 
It is not only proscribed as a felony by law, but, 
among the great majority of the people of England, 
the bare idea of it is a subject of ridicule, and few can 
imagine how, after receiving one injury, a man can be 
foolish enough to run the risk of getting another 
inflicted upon him by his offender. 

It is, therefore, only on account of its past history 
that duelling awakens an interest, and claims the 
attention of all who feel concerned in the common 
lot of humanity — its passions, errors, dangers, and 

In this respect, no page of history or romance is 

VOL. I. B 


more thrilling and interesting, as will be evident in 
the sequel. 

Whilst we need no arguments to induce us to set 
our faces against duelling, it may be worth our while to 
listen with a smile to the arguments put forth of old 
in defence of the practice. Admitting that it was both 
awful and distressing to see a young person cut off 
suddenly in a duel, particularly if he happened to be 
the father of a family, the advocates of duelling still 
declare that the loss of a few lives was a mere trifle 
when compared with the benefits resulting to society 
at large, — for ^^ the great gentleness and complacency 
which characterized the manners of the epoch, and 
those respectful attentions of one man to another, 
rendering social intercourse far more agreeable and 
decent than among the most civilized nations of 
antiquity,^^ were ascribed, in some degree, to this 
absurd custom. So they said that the man who fell 
in a duel and the individual who was killed by the 
ilpsetting of a stage-coach, were both unfortunate 
victims to a practice from which society derived great 
advantages ; therefore it was said to be as absurd to 
prohibit duelling as it would be to prohibit stage- 
travelling, because occasionally a few lives were lost 
by an upset ! 

Nor was that all that was urged to show the expe- 
dience of the practice. It was argued that duelling 
might probably be one of the numerous methods de- 
vised by nature for checking the too rapid increase of 



population ! True, in England many lives were not 
lost by the pistol and rapier, but among our neigh- 
bours on the Continent, deaths by duelling occurred 
daily, almost hourly ; and the persons taken off were 
generally fine, fresh, healthy, propagating fellows. In 
England that mode was not necessary, because con- 
sumption, scarlet fever, etc., kept down the population. 
In the salubrious chmates of Spain and Italy, however, 
these disorders were almost unknown, and but for that 
principle implanted in the breasts of the hot-blooded 
inhabitants of those regions, which urges them to 
endeavour to destroy each other upon the most trivial 
occasions of offence, men might live to a patriarchal 
age, and multiply so rapidly that the soil would soon 
be insufficient to supply them with nourishment. Such 
was what might be called the providential argument in 
support of duelling. 

We can better understand the next argument, that 
duelling is a check upon a certain class of persons 
infesting every trade and profession, who may be 
denominated natural bullies — ^having a certain devilish 
propensity to attack their fellow-creatures, either by 
words or blows, as best suits their purpose. They are 
for the most part, at bottom, arrant cowards ; and this 
blustering proceeds from a desire to appear big in 
their own petty circle. Eegardless of wounding the 
feelings of others, they discharge their foul ammunition 
at any party whose talents or high position in society 
render him an object of pubhc attention, and whose 

B 2 


resentment they court as the means of gratifying their 
detestable love of notoriety. 

Mandeville says in one of his essays: — ^^Man is 
civilized by nothing so irresistibly as by his fear ; for, 
according to Lord Rochester's oracular sentiment, ^ If 
not all, at least most men would be cowards, if they 
durst/* The dread of being called to a personal 
account keeps abundance of people in awe ; and there 
are now many thousands of mannerly and well-accom- 
plished gentlemen in Europe who would have turned 
out very insolent and very unsupportable coxcombs, 
without so salutary a curb to keep under restraint 
their naturally irruptive petulance. Whenever it shall 
become unfashionable to demand a manly satisfaction 
for such injuries received as the law cannot take hold 
of, there will then most certainly be committed twenty 
times the mischief that there is now ; or else the pre- 
sent number of constables and other peace-officers 
must be increased twenty-fold. Although duelling 
happens but seldom among us, in comparison with 
other countries, yet it is, I own, a calamity to the indi- 
viduals and families whom it may immediately aiffect ; 
but all felicity of life has its alloy, from the very 
obvious reason that there can be no perfect happiness 
in this world. 

'^ Notwithstanding, every rational person must own 
that the act of duelling in itself is uncharitable, un- 

* It may be remembered that the great Duke of Wellington 
expressed a very similar opinion in the House of Lords. 




social, nay, inhuman ; yet, when we consider that, one 
year with another, above thirty destroy themselves by 
suicide,* and that not half the number are killed by 
others in duelling, surely it cannot be said of oar 
people that they love themselves better than their 

"Is it not somewhat strange that a nation should 
grudge to see perhaps half-a-dozen men sacrificed in a 
twelvemonth to obtain and ensure such invaluable 
blessings as the politeness of manners, the pleasures of 
conversation, and the happiness of company in general, 
and especially a nation too that is often so ready, so 
willing to expose, and sometimes to lose, as many 
thousands in a few hours, without the least certainty 
that any future benefit shall accrue to her from such a 
loss ? 

"The most cogent arguments that can be used 
against modem honour and its favomnte principle, the 
spirit of duelling, is its being so diametrically opposed 
to the forgiving meekness of Christianity. The Gospel 
commands us to bear injuries with a resigned patience; 
Honour tells us, if we do not resent them in a becom- 
ing manner, we are unworthy of ranking in society as 
men. Revealed religion commands the faithfiil to 

♦That was the number when Mandeville wrote, but, of 
course, it is much greater now (260, in London), owing to the 
increase of population. It is curious, however, that the annual 
number is very regular, so that we always know, approximately, 
how many will commit suicide in the year ! 


leave all revenge to God ; Honour bids persons of feel- 
ing to trust their revenge to nobody but themselves. 
Christianity, in express and positive terms, forbids 
murder; Honour rises up in barefaced opposition to 
justify it. Religion prohibits our shedding blood upon 
any account whatever ; punctilious Honour commands 
and urges us to fight, even for trifles. Christianity is 
founded upon humility ; Honour is erected upon pride. 
I must leave to wiser heads than mine to bring about 
a reconciliation between them.^' 

In addition fco these arguments, the advocates of 
personal combat appealed to facts. They said that if 
men were not permitted to exhaust their irritated feel- 
ings by blows, they would resort to some other method 
of revenging an injury, and we should perhaps have 
the stiletto, dagger, or knife as commonly in use here 
as in Portugal, Spain, and Italy. In England, if two 
men quarrel, they box it out, — for every man is more 
or less a boxer; and after hammering at each other 
until all animosity is vented, they shake hands and 
part, perhaps with a sprained wrist, a broken nose, or 
a black eye ; but it is rarely any serious injury is sus- 
tained by either. There are certain rules aud regula- 
tions strictly enforced on such occasions, and the by- 
standers will not suffer them to be infringed; for 
instance, a man is never permitted by the regulations 
of boxing to strike, kick, or bite his antagonist when 
down; and everybody must have witnessed, at such 
accidental encounters in the street, the earnestness 


with whicli the affair is viewed on all sides, and the 
strict observance of the rules in question. 

On this ground even prize-fighting was advocated. 
It was said : — Prohibit prize-fighting, and the mob will 
soon forget how a pugilistic contest should be con- 
ducted. If two Italians or Portuguese quarrel, their 
knives are displayed in a moment; and the conse- 
quence is often fatal to one, if not both. No people 
use the knife so much as the Portuguese at Rio and 
Bahia, in Brazil; we scarcely meet an individual 
among the lower classes there who has not the mark 
of a stiletto wound on his person. 

^^ About thirty-two years ago,^^ writes a resident in 
Brazil, "1 witnessed several most cold-blooded mur- 
ders. One victim was a fine, hardy, weather-beaten 
old English sailor, who had left his vessel for a day^s 
cruise on shore; he was, I believe, the coxswain of 
Lord Cochrane^s gig. I first observed him seated 
near the mole, in front of a tobacco-shop, enjoying his 
pipe and glass of grog, and seemingly well-pleased at 
feeling himself relieved for a few hours from the re- 
straints consequent to his profession. 

" The man^s figure particularly attracted my atten- 
tion; his muscular frame and open independent ex- 
pression of countenance formed a striking contrast 
with the appearance of the half-emaciated natives who 
occupied a part of the same bench. Suddenly a loud 
disturbance arose in the shop ; another EngUsh sailor 
rushed out, followed by a Portuguese brandishing a 


drawn sword-stick, and making several ineffectual 
thrusts at the man, whose coolness and agility enabled 
him to escape the evil intended. 

^^ The old tar looked on for some moments ; he had 
no arms save those with which nature had furnished 
him; but observing a countryman so unequally en- 
gaged, without knowing anything of the quarrel, 
rushed to his assistance; and. a very few seconds gave 
a decided proof of the superiority of British muscle 
and valour over Portuguese science and cold steel. 
The man was floored and the sword-stick broken. 
The affray now became general ; a crowd of foreigners 
hurried to the spot ; and ere I arrived the most dread- 
ful vengeance had been taken. The old sailor was 
struck from behind with a knife, which entered both 
his heart and lungs ; his death was instantaneous ; he 
sprang about a foot from the ground, and, falling 
back, never moved again. 

" It would have given me great satisfaction to have 
discharged my pistol through the head of the assassin ; 
but surrounded as I then was by the rascals, and un- 
able to obtain assistance, such an act would probably 
only have brought upon myself the same fate that had 
befallen the old sailor, without mending his case. It 
was distressing to witness the life of a hardy old vete- 
ran, who had braved many a stiff gale, and escaped 
many a cannon-shot, thus brought to a close; and 
annoying to find that no effort was made to secure the 
murderer. The police at Eio are not over-active in 


endeavouring to discover a culprit, when guilty of no 
greater offence than stilettoing a heretic/^ 

There can be no doubt that fisticuff encounters have 
always been the characteristic of Englishmen in prefer- 
ence to the knife or poignard ; but still the instances 
of the use of the latter have been too numerous in all 
times to warrant the belief that encouragement to 
prize-fighting would tend to abolish or check the prac- 
tice among us. If in the present ^^ decline and fall ^' 
of the Ring, we not unfrequently hear of the use of the 
knife among the lower orders, it is very probable that 
the instances are not proportionately more numerous 
than they were in former times, when, it is well 
known, defective police and street darkness prevented 
many a case from coming under the eye of justice. 
When, therefore, the Ring, by its treacheries and de- 
ceptions, has forfeited the small claim to honour it 
arrogated, it may be safely discarded from among our 
institutions without in the least affecting our national 
proficiency in ^^ the noble art of self-defence.^^ 

The only tolerable argument in excuse of duelhng 
was that relating to those great injuries that one man 
can inflict upon another in the case of the seduction 
of his wife, daughter, or sister. It was said, " In a 
case of seduction, who could censure the act of a bro- 
ther, in calling out the author of his sister^s misfor- 
tune ? Or of adultery, the conduct of a husband, in 
avenging his wrongs upon the person of a destroyer of 
all his domestic comforts ? Nothing, in my opinion. 


is more horribly degrading to human nature than the 
plan adopted in this country, of awarding an individual 
a pecuniary compensation for the most cruel injury 
that can be inflicted; and I would sooner read the 
account of the death of a whole regiment by duelling 
than see recorded one of those disgusting trials for 
seduction or adultery, which are a disgrace to our na- 
tional character/' 

But times are now changed more than ever, and 
such chivalric sentiments are by no means in vogue or 
tolerated in the present generation. The lapse of a 
century, or indeed the life of a single generation, has 
sufficed to put down duelling in England without an 
apparent chance of revival — even with the example of 
such great names as those of Burke, Pox, Pitt, Sheri- 
dan, Canning, the Dukes of York, Wellington, and 
Richmond, and others among the most highly-gifted 
and illustrious individuals of former times who advo- 
cated and practised duelling. At the present day, 
most people take the view of it expressed by the cele- 
brated philosopher. Dr. Franklin : — 

^^ It is astonishing that the murderous practice of 
duelling should continue so long. Formerly, when 
duels were used to determine lawsuits, from an opinion 
that Providence would, in every instance, favour truth 
and right with victory, they were excusable ; at pre- 
sent they decide nothing. A man says something, 
which another man tells him is a lie ; — they fight ; but 
whichever is killed, the point in dispute remains un- 



settled. To this purpose they have a pleasant little 
story here : — A gentleman in a coffee-house desired 
another to sit further from him. — ^ Why so V — ^ Be- 
cause, Sir, you smell/ — ^ That, Sir, is an affront, and 
you must fight me/ — ^ I will fight you if you insist 
upon it ; but I don^t see how that will mend the mat- 
ter ; for if you kill me, I shall smell too ; and if I kill 
you, you will smell, if possible, more than you do at 

'^ How can such miserable worms as we are enter- 
tain so much pride as to conceit that every offence 
against our imagined honour merits death? These 
petty princes, in their own opinion, would call that 
sovereign a tyrant who would put one of them to 
death for a little uncivil language, though pointed at 
a sacred person ; yet every one of them makes himself 
judge in his own cause — condemns the offender with- 
out a jury — and undertakes himself to be the execu- 

^^ Duelling/^ says Paley, " as a punishment, is ab- 
surd, because it is an equal chance whether the pun- 
ishment falls on the offender or the person offended ; 
nor is it much better as a reparation, — it being difli- 
cult to explain in what the satisfaction consists, or 
how it tends to undo the injury or afford a compensa- 

* Franklin here alludes to the celebrated duellist, St. Foix, 
vho returned that answer to a challenge which he received from 
a gentleman whom he had asked, " Why the devU he smelt so 
confoundedly P" 


tion for the injury sustained. The truth is, it is nofc 
considered as either ; a law of honour having annexed 
the imputation of cowardice to patience under an 
affront, challenges are given and accepted, with no 
other design than to prevent and wipe off this sus- 
picion, without malice against the adversary — without . 
a wish to destroy him ; and, generally, with no other 
concern than to preserve the duellist^s own reputation . 
and reception in the world. 

^^ The unreasonableness of this rule of manners k 
one consideration — the duty and conduct of indivi- 
duals, while such a rule exists, is another ; as to which, 
the proper and single question is this — ^whether a re- 
gard for our own reputations is, or is not, sufficient to 
justify the taking away the life of another ? Murder 
is forbidden ; and whenever human life is deliberatdf 
taken away, otherwise than by public authority — there 
is murder. 

^^ If unauthorized laws of honour be allowed to creato 
exceptions to divine prohibitions, there is an end of all 
morality, as founded on the will of the Deity ; and tte 
obligations of every duty may at one time or another 
be discharged by the caprice and fluctuations of ft— 

Finally, there is the view taken of duelling by ai>- 
eminent historian and others, that it has to be thankaSta 
for the amelioration of the general manners of moderflt i 

Dr. Robertson makes the averment in his ustalL^ 


flowing style : — " The dominion of fashion is so power- 
ful that neither the tjrranny of penal laws nor reve- 
rence for religion has been able entirely to abolish a 
practice unknown among the ancients, and not justi- 
fiable by any principle of reason ; though, at the same 
time, it must be admitted that to this absurd custom 
we must ascribe, in some degree, the extraordinary 
gentleness and complacency of modem manners, and 
that respectful attention of one man to another, which, 
at present, renders the social intercourses of life far 
more agreeable and decent than among the most civi- 
lized nations of antiquity/' 

Now, this observation is totally unfounded in fact. 
At the time when duelling was most in vogue, both in 
England and in France, it is notorious that there was 
very Uttle gentleness, complacency, or even decency 
in manners. All who have studied the advance of 
civilization in both countries, especially in England, 
will be ready to attest this assertion, and there will be 
abundant proof of it in these pages. The prevalence 
of dueUing did not prevent the most heartless seduc- 
tions of wives and daughters; it did not check the 
utterance of the filthiest epithets ; nor induce a ^^ gen- 
tleman '' to refrain from the dirtiest action — even that 
of spitting into another gentleman's hat, for abet of a 
guinea !* The grossness of the drama and the wri- 
tings of those times, is a perfect reflex of the manners 
of the day. If gentlemen fought oftener in former 

• See Chapter X., " Lord Harvey and Lord Cobbam." 


times, most decidedly they had oftener reason or cause 
for so doing — owing to the innate brutality of the so- 
cial system then prevalent. No ; — the amelioration of 
modem manners is simply due to the amelioration of 
public taste — the advance of education — the whole- 
some teaching of the better class of literature — the 
influence of the Press and its Argus-eyed puhlicity — 
together with, no doubt, a better police, a more rigor- 
ous application of the law, and the determination to 
make no exception of persons in its administration. 
To these causes mast also be attributed the cessation 
of habitual drunkenness among gentlemen, so fashion- 
able in the times in question; and this great fact 
might just as well be ascribed to the influence of duel- 
ling as the amelioration of modern manners. That 
there is still great room for improvement in this re- 
spect — that too many are apt to indulge in insolence 
and provoking demeanour, even among those ^^ who 
ought to know better,^^ must be admitted ; but most 
assuredly duelling would be no aid to our School of 
Manners, or furnish any efiectual hints to our Eti- 

Nevertheless, a duellist* has written as follows : — 
^^ I have always found that, in the provinces, districts, 
and cities where the decision of diSerences by single 
combat had most prevailed, — for instance, the province 
of Connaught, city of Dublin, Galway, and some others, 

* Abraham Bosquet, Esq., 'The Young Man of Honour's 
Vade-Mecum; being a Salutary Treatise on Duelling.' 



— ^the gentry were the most polite and friendly, and 
the middle classes the most civilized and respectful of 
any other people, perhaps, in any other country ; and 
even the lower classes tractable and goodnatured to 
excess. Such qualities constitute the true basis of 
genuine politeness. The lower orders are prone to 
ape their superiors, whether it be in virtue or in vice. 
So, by the manners and respectful attention of ser- 
vants you may judge of the urbanity and other good 
qualities of the master. Where men dare to be rude 
and insulting, free from the dread of castigation, or 
beiQg called to accouut for their conduct in a spirited 
way, politeness, good breeding, — nay, common good 
manners, — are dispensed with, and the lie given and 
taken as words of course. Men of fine feeliugs are 
always the least prone to give offence, though gene- 
rally the most apt to take it, if insolence, insult, or 
rudeness be a concomitant/^ 

The main fact alleged in this argument may be ac- 
cepted, although it is difficult to see how the polite- 
ness and friendliness mentioned can be attributed to 
the practice of duelling, since the very provinces and 
cities named always continued to be notorious for 
duelling, which presupposes some offence incompatible 
with the claims of friendliness and politeness. 

The general problem, however, as to what is to be 
done when insulted, is not without its difficulty of so- 
lution. In a conversation with the Archbishop of 
Paris, in the year 1841, respecting the variations of 


the law against duelling, M. Olivier, the Bishop of "^ 
fivreux, said to M. Aflfre, ^^ But, my lord, if you were 
to receive a slap in the face, what would you do V^ — 
" Sir," replied the venerable Archbishop, " I know 
what I ought to do, but I do not know what I would 

After all, however, perhaps the method of the 
Greenlanders in this matter would be the best to be 
adopted by all nations. They use neither pistols, 
swords, nor knives in settling their quarrels. The 
two adversaries compose each a satirical poem, which 
they sing in public, accompanied by their fiiends in 
chorus, and the victory remains with him who manages 
to have the majority of the laughers on his side. Per* 
haps it will be said that one must be half-frozen to 
enjoy such good sense. 





Some writers have been pleased to trace the practice 
of duelling not only to the remotest times> — such as 
that when it appears that Cain ^^ called ouf his 
brother Abel,* — but certainly to the age of chivalry, 
and its extraordinary race of men who, at the sight 
of a virtuous and beautiful lady in distress, were in- 
clined to expose themselves to all hazards for her 
sake, the age when woman^s honour was held sacred 
by common consent. 

Then it was, in those happy days of chivalry, that 

* In the previous " talk " of Cain with Abel it is supposed 
that a challenge was given and accepted, when they went out to 
settle the matter/ The Scriptural words are, " And Cain talked 
with Abel his brother ; and it came to pass, when they were in 
the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew 
him." There is nothing in the text absolutely to exclude the 
supposition that Abel defended himself in the encounter. 

VOL. I. C 


men had such frequent opportunities of signalizing 
themselves in combat, of enlisting in the service of the 
fair sex, and winning their favours at the point of the 

Investing a knight was a very interesting ceremony, 
arid attended by many solemn and religious rites, as 
fasting, prayer, and the reception of the sacrament. 
Clad in armour, he passed the night at the foot of the 
altar; and the priests of the church assisted at his 

Having received the sword and an embrace from 
the priest, as customary on the occasion, he devoted 
himself to the defence of religion, of widows and 
orphans, and all exposed to oppression. 

When his sword, which had previously been blessed, 
was delivered to him, he received a slight blow on the 
cheek, as an emblem of the last affront it was lawfiil 
for him to receive unresented ; and he most solemnly 
pledged himself to speak always the truth, to despise 
the allurements of ease and personal safety, and to 
vindicate in every perilous adventure the honour of his 

The lance was the weapon generally used by a 
knight in single combat. His heavy charger was led 
by an attendant, while he himself, clad in full armour, 
rode a small palfrey, and did not mount his war-horse 
until he arrived on the field, where he was attended by 
his faithful esquire, a youth of good birth, and fot 
lowed by his archers and men-at-arms. What a nobte 


sight it must have been to behold him mounted on his 
raven steed, bearing on his hehn the " favour ^^ or 
token which his fair lady's hand had affixed, bounding 
lightly forward to the fight, and wielding the huge 
weapon in his sturdy arms with almost incredible 
dexterity ! 

Such was the practice in the age of chivalry. 
Then there was the ^^ ordeal of battel/' or the ju- 
dicial combat, which was admitted not only in criminal 
cases, but also in civil disputes for the maintenance of 
rights to estates, and the like. 

Nothing could be more contrary to good sense than 
those combats. But men, though reasonable in the 
main, reduce even their very prejudices to rule, and 
when once this point was laid down, a kind of pru- 
dential management was used in carrying it into exe- 

When there happened to be several accusers, they 
were obliged to agree among themselves that the ac- 
tion might be carried on by a single prosecutor ; and 
if they could not agree, the person before whom the 
action was brought appointed one of them to prose- 
cute the quarrel. 

When a gentleman challenged a ^^ villain" — that is, 
a person of low degree, and not necessarily a rogue, 
according to our use of the term — he was obliged to 
present himself on foot with buckler and ^^ baston '' or 
stick ; but if he came on horseback and armed like a 
gentleman, they took his horse and his arms from him, 



and stripping him to his shirt, they compelled him to 
fight in that condition with the villain. 

Before the combat the magistrates ordered three 
banns to be published. By the first the relations of 
the parties were commanded to retire ; by the second 
the people were warned to be silent ; and the third 
prohibited giving any assistance to either of the par- 
ties, under severe penalties, nay, even on pain of 
death, if by this assistance either of the combatants 
should happen to be vanquished. 

The officers belonging to the civil magistrate 
guarded the list or enclosure where the battel was 
fought ; when the pledges were received either for a 
crime or for false judgment, the parties could not 
make up the matter without the consent of the lord; 
and when one of the parties was overcome, there could 
be no accommodation without the permission of the 

There were a great many people incapable either of 
ofiering or of accepting battel ; but liberty was given 
them in trial of the cause to choose a champion ; and 
that the latter might have a stronger interest in de- 
fending the party in whose behalf he appeared, his 
hand was cut ofi" if he lost the battel. 

When, in capital cases, the duel was fought by 
champions, the parties to the suit were placed where 
they could not behold the battel ; each was bound with 
the cord that was to be used at his execution, in case 
his champion was overcome. 


The practice of judiciary combat had this advantage, 
that it was calculated to change a general into a par- 
ticular quarrel, to restore the courts of judicature to 
their authority, and to reduce to a civil state those who 
were no longer governed but by the law of nations. 
As there are numberless wise things which are ma- 
naged in a very foolish manner, so there are many 
foolish things that are very wisely conducted : the 
practice of judiciary combat was one of the latter. 

In process of time, before battel was entirely abo- 
lished by law, it was restricted to the following four 
cases : — First, that the crime should be capital ; se- 
condly, that it should be certain the crime had been 
perpetrated ; thirdly, that the accused must, by com- 
mon fame, be supposed guilty ; and fourthly, that the 
matter was not capable of proof by witness. 

It is extraordinary that this custom should have 
been first abolished by the Icelanders, a people not at 
all remarkable for their advancement in civilization. 

It is equally remarkable that the trial by ordeal of 
battel was in force in England down to very recent 
times, as was strikingly proved in the following case 
detailed in the Law Reports. An alleged murderer 
having pleaded " Not Guilty ; and I am ready to defend 
the same by my body,^^ was furnished with a pair of 
gloves, one of which being put on, the other was 
thrown down, and duly taken into the custody of the 
court. That was in 1818. The defence was allowed 
by the judges; the prisoner was discharged; and 


the Ordeal by Battel was abolished by Act of Parlia- 

The principle of the judiciary combat was the idea 
that God would invariably make the right prevail in all 
uncertainties ; and it is rather curious that the notion 
was wisely doubted by St. Louis, King of France, who 
abolished the practice in all the courts of his demesne, 
allowing it only in the courts of his barons, but still 
excepting it in the case of appeal of false judgment. 
That was in the year 1260. 

* This most atrocious case is reported by Barnwell and 
Alderson, vol. i., Ashford against Thornton. There was evi- 
dence of Thornton having publicly declared that he had de- 
bauched the sister of the murdered woman, and that he would 
debauch her too ; there was circumstantial evidence of the most 
horrible kind that extreme violence had been used to the poor 
woman ; and that Thornton afterwards drowned her in a pit full 
of water. But the man " waged his battel " (of course by the 
advice of his clever attorney), and after an elaborate argument, 
the Court of Appeal decided in his favour — Lord Ellenborough, 
C. J., saying : — ** The general law of the land is in favour of the 
wager of battel, and it is our duty to pronounce the law as it is, 
and not as we may wish it to be. Whatever prejudice, there- 
fore, may justly exist against this mode of trial, still, as it is the 
law of the land, the Court must pronounce judgment for it." Of 
course, there was nobody to " wage battel " with the miscreant — 
to " take up his glove ;" and so, after the usual formalities, he 
was discharged — thanks to his clever attorney. 

It should be stated, however, that Thprnton had been before 
tried and acquitted of the murder, on an inferred alihi. After 
the appeal, as "public opinion allowed him no peace, Thornton 
went, under a feigned name, to America, where he soon died, and 
in the meantime, his father (a most worthy man) died of broken 
spirits. — See the case in * Celebrated Trials,* vol. vi. 227. 


It is evident, I tliiiik, from these facts, that the 
modem practice of duelling cannot be traced to those 
national institutions of old, which had a very diflferent 
object in view, and were very differently managed; 
but, at the same time, it must evidently be connected 
with the same spirit of men, fostered by the hngering 
sentiments of antiquity. 

The great peculiarity of primitive duelling was its 
connection with devotional feeling : religion was so 
intimately allied to the practice that various acts of 
devotion were prescribed before the encounter. The 
night before the battel was passed in a church, at the 
foot of the altar; there, certain saints were invoked, 
such as St. George, " the good chevalier ;^^ the intend- 
ing combatants made confession, and received the 

It was certainly supposed that these acts of rehgion 
ensured new. strength for the conflict, and warranted 
victory. Anna Comnena relates that a French gentle- 
man at Court assured her that there was in his coun- 
try a church in which the duellists passed the night 
in prayer, in order to obtain from the saint some ex- 
traordinary succour in the approaching combat. St. 
Drausin of Soissons was famous for the miraculous aid 
which he accorded, for he rendered the duellists who 
invoked him completely invincible. Thus we read that 
the Count de Montfort invoked St. Drausin in his 
church during the entire night before he met Henry 
Count of Essex, in mortal combat. 


In England, the tomb of St. John of Salisbury was 
celebrated for ensuring victory to devout duellists; 
their agility and strength were augmented in propor- 
tion to the ardour of their prayers, and those of the nuns, 
who joined their prayers to those of the combatants. 

It has, indeed, been attempted to explain away the 
fact by saying that the contests respecting which the 
saint was invoked were battles of armies, and not 
duels. But that is a vain pretence ; the venerable 
author of the ^ Life of St. Drausin ^ merely followed the 
ideas and language of his age, by assigning to this saint 
the attribute of fortifying duellists, because these per- 
sonal combats were positively sanctioned in those days. 

Much as the Church has denounced duelling in sub- 
sequent times, it is certain in the early ages, if some of 
the Popes opposed the practice, there were others who 
did not condemn it, and their legates appointed duels 
even when designed merely to give proof of valour, 
being themselves the witnesses or seconds, the judges, 
and the distributors of the prize of victory. The 
cardinal legate of Pope Gregory XI., who was besie- 
ging Bologna, commanded a duel between two Bretons 
and two Florentines, who had mutually questioned the 
valour of their respective nation. Of the four com- 
batants, two killed each other, and the remaining 
Florentine having prostrated the second Breton, the 
legate saved his life, giving his arms and horse to the 
victor, accompanying the gift with the highest eu- 
logium on his bravery. This occurred in the year 



1575. In after times the Jesuit casuists permitted 

duelling in certain cases.* 
In the nineteenth year of Edward III., we read of the 

^^ judicial combat/^ or duel, which was to have come off 
between Robert, the Bishop of Salisbury, and William 
de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, on account of the 
right of the castle of Sarum. The bishop laid claim to 
it, and the Earl declared himself ready to defend his 
possession by a duel, to which the bishop consented. 
On the day appointed, the bishop brought to the lists 
his champion, clothed in a white garment reaching 
down to the mid-leg, above which he wore a short 
cloak or cassock, adorned with the episcopal arms; 
and an esquire and a page were attendants on this 
champion, bearing a staff and shield. The Earl also 
led his champion by the hand into the lists, accoutred 
in much the same manner, with two attendant esquires, 
carrying two white staves. But during the ceremonials 
of examining the arms on each side, an order arrived 
from the king for deferring the decision of the suit, 
lest the king^s interests should be concerned in it; 
and in the meantime the matter in dispute was adjusted 
between the parties. 

The famous meeting between the Dukes of Norfolk 
and Hereford, in the presence of Eichard II., is well 

* In the case of a nobleman at court or a military man, when 
challenged, and liable to the imputation of cowardice, the loss of 
dignity or office. (See the * Medulla Theologise Moralis ' of 
Busembaum, who quotes Laymann, Hirtius, Lessius, and others 
in favour of the opinion ; page 169, § 6, Edit. Pat. 1729.) 


known to every reader of Shakespeare as well as En- 
glish history. 

So late as the year 1571, in the reign of Elizabeth, 
a requisition was made for a decision, by judicial com- 
bat, concerning the right of some manorial lands in 
the small Isle of Hartie, near the Isle of Sheppey, in 
Kent. A proceeding was instituted in the Court of 
Common Pleas against the holder of the lands. The 
defendant demanded leave to maintain his possession 
by the duel. The petitioners accepted the challenge, 
and the whole bench of lawyers were put into con- 
fusion how to act on this appeal ; which proves that the 
judicial combat was still held to be a legal and regular 
mode of proceeding, where both parties were agreed, 
though it had fallen much into disuse. The law court 
does not seem to have had a power of refusal ; accord- 
ingly, champions were immediately appointed by each 
party — for, there being two petitioners against one 
defendant, the parties themselves could not fight — to 
decide the combat and the claim. All the ceremonials 
of time, place, and arms were adjusted. But the 
queen, being anxious to avoid the spilling of blood, 
issued her commands that the suit should be com- 
pounded, that the defendant should remain in posses- 
sion, by paying a stipulated sum to the petitioners, but 
yet that means must be taken to preserve the credit 
of the defendant, who had demanded the combat, as 
well as the award for the petitioners, which enjoined its 
being fulfilled, or the result of the duel was to proceed. 

Accordingly, an early day was appointed, and the 



justices of the Common Pleas, the counsel and lawyers, 
in all form, went down to Tothill-fields to be umpires 
of the contest ; and also the champions on both sides 
appeared equipped for the fight. Every ceremonial 
was gone through, and in the last place the petitioners 
were called on to maintain their suit in the person of 
their champion. But, as it had been previously 
agreed, no petitioners appeared to acknowledge their 
champion, on which they were nonsuited, and victory 
adjudged to the defendant. Thus ended this mock- 
judicial combat, which was the last but one ever de- 
manded in England, — the last being that ostensibly 
demanded by Thornton, in 1818, as previously stated. 

The history of modem duelling, in the strict sense 
of the word, seems to date from the year 1527, or the 
reign of Francis the First of France ; but scarcely, I 
think, to be attributed, as some writers suppose, to the 
challenge sent by this monarch to Charles the Fifth, 
because when the emperor accepted the hostile mes- 
sage, and ofiered every facihty for the meeting, the 
French king was not forthcoming. It was all mere 
'^ gasconading.'^ 

Francis the First broke a treaty which he had made 
with the Emperor, who thereupon desired the herald 
of the French king to acquaint his sovereign that he 
would henceforth consider him not only as a base 
violator of pubhc faith, but as a stranger to the honour 
and integrity becoming a gentleman. Francis in- 
stantly sent back the herald with a cartel, in which ho 


gave the emperor the lie in form, and challenged him 
to single combat, requiring him to name the time and 
place for the encounter, and the weapons. Charles, as 
I have stated, accepted the challenge, but the French 
king prudently allowed the matter to " blow over/^ 

Francis the First, however, not only tolerated but 
approved of duelling; but he reserved the right of 
giving it his sanction, and was much displeased if a 
challenge was sent without his knowledge. Numerous 
duels occurred in his reign, and many were fatal. * 

During the reign of Henry the Fourth, four thousand 
gentlemen lost their lives by duelling, and the " Bon 
Henri ^^ granted fourteen thousand pardons for break- 
ing the edicts against single combats. Well might 
Montaigne say that " if three Frenchmen were placed 
in the Libyan desert, they would not be a month there 
without quarrelling and fighting.^^ 

About a century later, during the reign of Louis the 
Thirteenth, duelling had increased to such an extent 
that the severest edicts were issued against it, but 
which only seemed to give it additional virulence. 

The minister Eichelieu graduated the penalties of 

* " The reign of Francis might have been one of gallantry and 
of pleasure ; and there are not wanting even ladies who, in the 
present day, look upon its profligacies and their ferocious results 
as noble deeds — the effects of chivalrio devotion. I must con- 
fesss that, in looking over its annals, I can find nothing remark- 
able, except an outrageous breach of all morality and decorum, 
and a wanton waste of human blood." (Millingen, * History of 


dnelling according to the degrees of criminality, for he 
held that it was outrageous to inflict death on all duel- 
lists indiscriminately. The penalties he imposed by 
edict were, for a challenge, the loss of office, the confis- 
cation of half the property of the offender, and a 
banishment for three years. 

A duel not followed by death was liable to incur the 
loss of nobility, infamy, or capital punishment; the 
circumstances were to guide the judges. 

If one party was killed, the penalty was death and 
the total confiscation of property. 

The Parliament of Paris, which was inclined to adopt 
the most rigorous measures against duelling, petitioned 
the kiug to enforce the edict to the utmost, but Riche- 
lieu told them that a physician who, after several trials, 
has perceived the inefficacy of a remedy, cannot be 
blamed for prescribing a new one, especially if he pre- 
serves the former in all its strength, to have recourse 
to it when necessary. 

Severe examples were made. Praslin, the son of a 
distinguished officer of state, was banished the Court 
and deprived of his offices and appointments for fight- 
ing a duel ; and for the same cause Francis de Mont- 
morency, Count de Bouteville, lost his head on the 

Bouteville held the first rank among the ^' braves ^^ 
of the day. He was an expert swordsman, and was 
ever on the look-out for an encounter. If ever told 
that so-and-so was a brave fellow, he immediately 


sought him out and addressed him as follows : — " Sir, 
they tell me you are brave ; I wish to try you. What 
are your arms V 

Parliamentary edicts were levelled against him, but 
Bouteville was not the man to sheath his sword for so 
small a matter. He even, by way of joke, forced the 
Count de Pont-Gibaut from his devotions at church 
one Easter Sunday to go out and fight him. The 
result was that the Parliament issued two more edicts 
against him ; Bouteville laughed at them. He crossed 
swords in 1625 with the Marquis de Portes, killed 
the Count de Thorigny in 1626, and in 1627 fought 
the Baron de la Frette, at Saint-Germain. 

Some time afterwards, a report was circulated that 
a duel was in contemplation between Bouteville and 
the Marquis de Beuvron, who was resolved to avenge 
the death of the Count de Thorigny, his relative. But 
on this occasion it was resolved to put the edicts in 
full force against the delinquents, and Beuvron and 
Bouteville had to take refuge at Brussels. Thereupon 
Louis XIII. wrote to the Archduchess governing the 
Netherlands, requesting her to prevent the duel. The 
Princess enjoined the Marquis de Spinola to interpose 
in the matter. The latter invited the parties to dinner, 
treated them with the gre^,test magnificence, and made 
them swear to give up the quarrel. The agreement 
was made in the presence of numerous high function- 
aries, — French, Spanish, and Flemish. Before leaving 
the apartment, however, the Marquis de Beuvron told 



Bouteville, after shaking hands with him, ^^I shall 
never be satisfied until I have seen you sword in 

But the fierce Bouteville, though so ready to draw 
his sword, refused to fight at Brussels, — ^he had given 
his word and was resolved to keep it. He begged the 
Archduchess to intercede for him with Louis XIII. to 
permit him to return to France. The King replied 
that all he could do for her sake was not to send for 
Bouteville at Brussels, but that he had better take care 
never to show himself in France. 

Meanwhile Beuvron returned to Paris, and sent chal- 
lenge after challenge to Bouteville. At the eighth, the 
latter resolved to go and meet him at Paris, which he 
did as soon as possible. Beuvron proposed to fight 
without seconds, to which Bouteville objected, and the 
meeting took place on the Place Eoyal, — the Count 
intending to disobey the edict in the most open man- 
ner. The small sword and poignard were the weapons. 
The combatants set to with great impetuosity, and 
soon getting too near, they threw down their swords, 
with common consent, and seized their poignards. At 
the instant of stabbing each other, they mutually asked 
for life and desisted. Bouteville again fled, but was 
taken, tried at Paris, and beheaded. 

At the commencement of the reign of Louis XIV. 
occurred the duel between the Dukes de Beaufort and 
Nemours, brothers-in-law, and eight of their followers, 
together; Nemours and two of his attendants were 
left dead on the field. 


This duel probably determined Louis XIV. to adopt 
decided measures making duelling a capital crime, and 
punishing the oflfenders with instant death. 

The severity of this edict will not surprise the reader 
when it is known that scarcely a day passed without 
several deaths by duelling at Paris^ and that Lord 
Herbert, our ambassador there at that time, remarks 
in his Life, " He hardly met, during his long residence 
in France, a Frenchman who had not killed his man in 
a duel/^ 

During the reigns of Louis XIII. and Louis XIV. 
the rage for duelling was at its height. In the reign 
of the former, the usual inquiry was, when acquaint- 
ances met in the morning, not, " What is the news of 
the day V but, " How are you ? do you know who 
fought yesterday .^^ 

About this period much of the best blood in other 
countries also was shed in duels, and many useful 
lives were lost. War itself was hardly more destruc- 
tive than these contests of honour, which, although 
checked in France by the rigorous execution of the 
new law, were far from being entirely abolished. 

In England, we do not find many accounts of their 
occurrence until the middle of the seventeenth century, 
when, from our close intercourse with the Continent, 
the higher classes of society adopted, as a matter. of 
course, this fashionable mode of settling private dif* 
ferences. Some of the most terrible instances we 
have to narrate occurred in England during the seven- 
teenth century. 


During the reign of James I. duels were not only- 
frequent but resorted to even by the lower orders. 
This appears from a speech of Bacon, when attorney- 
general, in the case of a challenge brought before the 
Star Chamber Court. Bacon therein attributes the 
frequency of the practice to the rooted prejudice of the 
times, and hopes that the great would think it time to 
leave off the custom, when they find it adopted by 
barber-surgeons and butchers; and in one of his 
letters on the subject, to Lord ViUiers, he expresses 
his determination not to make any distinction between 
a coronet and a hatband in his efforts to repress the 

^^ I will prosecute,^^ he says, ^^ if any man appoint 
the field, though no fight takes place ; if any man send 
a challenge in writing or verbally ; if any man accept 
a challenge, or consent to be a second; if any man 
depart the realm in order to fight ; if any man revive 
a quarrel after the late proclamation.^^ 

It does not appear, however, that this great man^s 
exertions were productive of much beneficial result, as 
the monarch, in one of his proclamations, applied the 
term ^^ bewitching duel '^ to these combats. . The 
frequency of duels may be inferred from the accoutit 
given by Bacon respecting the king^s feelings on the 
subject, averring that, " when he came forth and saw 
himself princely attended with goodly noblesse and 
gentlemen, he entered into thought that none of their 
Uves were in certainty, not for twenty-four hours, from 

VOL. I. '^ 


the duel ; for it was but a heat or a mistaking, and 
then a lie/ and then a challenge, and then life, — saying, 
that he did not marvel seeing Xerxes shed tears to 
think not one of his great army should be alive a hun- 
dred years. His Majesty was touched with compassion 
to think that not one of his attendants but might be 
dead within twenty-four hours by the duel/^ 

A frightful case in point will be found in the sequel, 
the doubly fatal duel between Sir George Wharton and 
Sir James Stewart, both servants of the king, the 
latter being also his godson. When the king heard 
of this sad affair, he was much affected, and ordered 
them both to be buried in one grave. 

James was inexorable in the case of Lord Sanquair, 
for the murder of a fencing-master. His lordship, 
who prided himself on his skill in swordmanship, had 
an assault with a fencing-master of the name of Turner, 
who put out one of his eyes with his foil. Turner 
made every possible excuse for the unfortunate occur- 
rence, and Sanquair seemed to forgive him, as well he 
might; but some years after he visited the court of 
Henry IV. of France, when this prince asked him how 
he had lost his eye, 

Sanquair wa s embarrassed by the question, and with 
some hesitation replied, " By a sword wound.^^ The 
king immediately replied, " And does the man live V^ 

This pointed question sank deep into Sanquair's 
mind, and from that moment he formed the wretched 
resolution to rid himself of the obnoxious cause of his 


misfortune in any manner lie could contrive. On his 
return to England, — disdaining, it is said, to sacrifice 
his victim with his own noble hands, but more likely 
fearing to encounter fairly so skilful an opponent, — he 
basely hired two ruffians, who assassinated Turner in 
his lodgings in Whitefriars. 

The murderers were taken, but Sanquair had fled, 
and £1000 reward was offered by proclamation for his 
apprehension. Trusting to his sovereign's partiality 
for the Scotch, and having for a mediator at court the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, he surrendered himself ; but 
all intercession was vain. Bacon was ordered to pro- 
secute, and Sanquair and his accomplices were con- 
demned, and he was hanged on the 29th of June, 1612^ 
in front of the entrance to Westminster Hall. 

There can be no doubt that duelling was at its height 
during the entire century in question, in spite of exist- 
ing laws and proclamations. It received a salutary 
check during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, who 
issued against it a very severe enactment, but which 
nevertheless did not prevent the duel between the 
Duke of Buckingham and the Duke of Beaufort in 
Hyde Park. 

Ireton, Cromwell's son-in-law, was challenged by 
Lord Holies, Member of Parliament, and one of the 
leaders of the Presbyterian party. The austere Puritan 
declined to fight, and Lord Holies pulled his nose, 
saying, ^^ Your conscience ought to prevent you from 
having wrongs, if it does not permit you to redress 



them/^ Notwithstanding this aflfront, which Black- 
stone places among the most mortifying, Ireton per- 
sisted in rejecting the challenge. 

At the restoration of Charles II., the cavaliers seem 
to have brought over with them the French partiality 
for duelling, and to have exercised those arms which 
they now wore again in common, with all the licen- 
tiousness of private combat. To check the progress of 
the evil, Charles II. published a proclamation to 
enforce the laws against duelling, which might have 
had some effect had he kept up to the dignity of his 
royal word in not pardoning offenders ; but of this he 
was totally negligent. The practice of duelling, there- 
fore, still maintained its ground, because in Charleses 
reign, as in others, there was no enforcement of the 
laws against it. 

Pepys, in his notes, alludes to the sad prevalence of 
duels about this period, which he states to be ^' a kind 
of emblem of the general complexion of the whole 
kingdom^' at the time, relating the case of Sir H. 
Bellassis and Mr. Porter, the former ^^a parliament- 
man, and both of them extraordinary friends,^' adding, 
" It is pretty to see how the world talk of them, as a 
couple of fools that killed one another out of love.^^ 
This affair took place in Covent Garden. 

The rage for duelling continued during the reign of 
^^ the Merry Monarch,^^ Charles II., when ball-rooms, 
masquerades, theatres, the open streets, became con- 
stant scenes of strife and bloodshed. Covent Garden 


and Lincoln^s Inn Fields became the rendezvous for 
deciding points of honour, and at all hours of the night 
the clastiing of swords might be heard by the peace- 
able citizens returning home, at the risk of being in- 
sulted and ill-treated by the pretty fellows and the 
beaux of the day. Duelling was in vogue among 
all classes, and even physicians were wont to decide 
their professional altercations at the point of the sword. 

Doctor Mead and Doctor Woodward fought under the 
gate of Gresham College ; the latter slipped and fell. 
Take your life/^ exclaimed Dr. Mead. 
Anything but your physic/' replied the prostrate 

Clubs were formed of desperadoes, who assumed 
the name of Bold Bucks, and Hell-fires, and their pro- 
fanity was too horible to be recorded in these pages ; 
suffice it to mention the peculiarity of a club of duel- 
lists in the reign of Charles II., described by Addison 
in the ninth number of the ^ Spectator.^ None were 
admitted to this club that had not fought his man. 
The president was said to have killed half-a-dozen in 
single combat ; and the other members took their seats 
according to the number of their slain. There was 
likewise a side-table for such as had only drawn blood, 
and shown a laudable ambition of taking the first 
opportunity to qualify themselves for the first table. 
This club, which consisted only of men of honour, did 
not continue long, most of its members being put to 
the sword or hanged, a short time after its institution. 


Duelling flourished during the subsequent reigns, 
ever in vogue if mitigated in ferocity, down to the time 
when political animosity gave it immense impetus in 
the reign of George III. 

According to Gilchrist^s computation,* the number 
of duels fought during this long reign was one hundred 
and seventy-two, in which three hundred and forty- 
four persons were concerned. Sixty-nine individuals 
were killed ; in three of these fatal cases neither of the 
combatants survived. Ninety -six were wounded, forty- 
eight of them desperately, and forty-eight slightly; 
while one hundred and seventy-nine escaped unhurt. 

" Thus it appears that rather more than one-fifth of 
the combatants lost their lives, and that nearly one-half 
received the bullets of their antagonists.^^ This is cer- 
tainly a very large proportion altogether, showing that 
the chances of being hit were very great in England, 
doubtless owing to the superior national adaptation for 
the use of fire-arms, and the greater familiarity of the 
higher classes with gun practice. In a subsequent 
chapter I shall have to discuss the " chances " of 

Out of these one hundred and seventy-two duels, in 
the reign of George III., it appears, according to the 
same authority, that only eighteen trials took place, — 
that sfix of the arraigned individuals were acquitted, 
seven found guilty of manslaughter, and three of 
murder, two of whom were executed, and eight im- 
prisoned during difierent periods. 

* * Hist, of Ordeals/ etc. 


Sailing down the stream of our social life, we pick 
up the stray memorials of fortunate and unfortunate 
duellists. In 1815, Daniel O^Connell shot D'Esterre 
in a duel. In 1821, Mr. Scott, the editor of the ^ Lon- 
don Magazine,^ was shot in a duel with Mr. Christie, 
at Chalk Farm. In 1824, a duel was fought between 
the Marquis of Londonderry and Mr. Battier, an officer. 
Lord Londonderry was reprimanded by the Duke of 
York for his duel with Mr. Battier, and the name of 
the latter was struck oflF from the half-pay list, for 
sending a challenge to his superior officer. Mr. 
Battier^s troubles did not end here, for he was horse- 
whipped four days after by Sir Henry Hardinge. In 
1826, a fatal duel occurred in Dublin between a Mr. 
Hayes and a Mr. Brie, an eminent Irish barrister, who 
was killed. In 1829 occurred the famous duel between 
the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Winchilsea, in 
Battersea Fields. In 1834, Sir Eobert Peel challenged 
Dr. Lushington and dear ^^ sum total ^^ Hume ; but both 
of these pacific gentlemen had the good sense to ap- 
pease the wrath of the great plebeian by courteous 
explanations. And thus the list of duels goes on, as 
will be found in the sequel, to the last (between 
Coumey and Barthelemy), for England has positively 
seen the last of duelling ! * 

Dr. Millingen has made some apposite reflections on 

* The last duel fought by a British subject was that between 
Mr. DiQon and the Duke de Grammont Caderousse, at Paris, 
in 1862. 


the duelling of England, whicli are well worth reproduc- 
tion and serious consideration: — "When we compare 
the frequency of dueUing during this period, — the reign 
of George III. and subsequent reigns, — and at the same 
time consider how much more fatal these meetings 
generally proved, we are naturally led to inquire into 
the causes of this material difference and amelioration 
in the condition of society. Desirable, indeed, would 
it be if this circumstance could be attributed to a better 
feeling in the upper classes, and a just detestation of a 
practice as absurd as it is inhuman; but it is to be 
feared that the influence of fashion in this country had 
no inconsiderable share in the change of manners. 
Although many men, pre-eminent in public estimation, 
have sanctioned the practice by their example, yet how 
few are they compared with those of former times, when 
we find York, Norfolk, Richmond, Bellamont,Exmouth, 
Talbot, Townshend, Shelburne, Paget, Castlereagh, 
Petersham, Pitt, Fox, Sheridan, Canning, Tierney, and 
paany others of rank and distinction ! 

"The repetition of insult unavenged has become 
more or less the fashion; and may not this circum- 
stance be also in some measure attributable to the 
frequency of the virulent discussions which have be- 
come so frequent during the constant struggles for 
power, when insults becoming, one may say, of daily 
occurrence, are rarely noticed ? Has not the influence 
of the increased number of newspapers, many of which 
have been conducted with a degree of personal ani- 


mosity, and we must say, ungentlemanly vituperation, 
rendered the use of offensive language so general as to 
have become a matter of course in political argument, 
and therefore rarely noticed, except by still more 
abusive recrimination V 

There can be no doubt whatever that, ^^ if such a 
latitude in degrading phraseology had been as gener- 
ally prevalent in France, scarcely an editor would be 
now living to vindicate his lingual excesses by the satis- 
faction of pleading his antagonist's death; — the He, 
the blow, which would once have required the fall of 
one of the parties, is now only resented by another 
accusation of falsehood, a second edition of thrashing 
— or an action at law/' 

The case as it has stood and stands seems to accuse 
the pubUc morality of the nation. '' Of late years the 
most unwarrantable parliamentary language has been 
apologised for on the plea of its not having been allu- 
sive to 'private character, so that a legislator or a 
minister may be considered a political scoundrel, but a 
worthy individual member of society, — guilty of a 
falsehood in the house, but devoted to the cause of 
truth beyond the purlieus of St. Stephen ; faithful to 
all his engagements with the world, but a traitor to his 
country ; for, after all, what is the language of opposi- 
tion but a strenuous endeavour to impugn an adver- 
sary's veracity, to show that for mere lucre, or the 
vanity of possessing power and patronage, he betrays 
the most sacred trust reposed in him by his sovereign ; 


that he hurries his country to perdition for the selfish 
motives of personal aggrandisement, and sacrifices the 
national weal for his own benefit and that of his family 


and dependants. Can there be any insult ofiered to a 
man more pungent, more degrading ? The lie, the 
blow, given in a moment of passionate ebullition, are 
trifling offences when compared with such serious 
charges, which, if substantiated, should not only expose 
a man to universal contempt and detestation, but to 
the most ignoble death. 

^^ When such impeachments are daily, hourly made, 
can we expect much sensitiveness, when reciprocal 
abuse is bandied at the bar of the house, as well as at 
the bar of courts of justice V 

There may be much truth in the above remarks ; at 
any rate, everybody will be disposed to agree with the 
eloquent and indignant doctor in the following : — 

^^A falsehood is considered an expedient; evasion, 
an error ; and a personal invective, a mere ebullition 
of eloquence, a bubbling over of the diplomatic cabinet, 
an opposition caldron, as heterogeneous and monstrous 
in its contents as that of the weird sisters. These obser- 
vations are not intended to condemn this philosophical 
view of the subject. Were these excesses noticed at 
the pistoPs muzzle, it would only be adding murder to 
corruption; and as society is constituted, when an 
electioneering hustings may be oftentimes compared 
to a stall at Billingsgate, a candidate who seeks to 
vindicate what he is complacently pleased to call his 


honour y must indeed be a Quixotic character when he, 
in general, conscientiously knows that every syllable 
of his address to the voters is void of veracity, and all 
his pledges fiitile and false/^ 

No doubt, however, that the change of manners has 
tended to check the practice of duelling; for, as Dr. 
Millingen also remarks, ^^ The frequency of duels, in 
former times, may also be attributed to the mode of 
living in days fortunately gone by. Hard drinking is 
now rarely heard of; and when it was in fashion, 
insults were often given under the influence of liquor, 
and vindicated under the plea of excitement from the 
preceding night^s excesses. . . . Were it possible to 
ascertain the influence of intemperance in many duels 
that have been fought, it would doubtless appear that 
many of these fatal quarrels would never have taken 
place iu a sober society. 

" It is also to be observed that duels, when of con- 
stant recurrence, became the subject of general con- 
versation ; and duels, like suicide, bear a fashionably 
contagious character, which spreads widely in society, 
and then the most mistaken of criminals fancies that 
he must also avenge certain wrongs or rid himself of 
an uncertain life.^^ 

There can be no doubt that among the potent causes 
of duels were the insinuations of artful, dangerous, 
and vicious females, and inflammatory mistresses, who 
prided themselves much in being, the object of a duel, 
and frequently insinuated that dishonourable overtures 


had been made to them by the nearest connections or 
intimate friends of their keepers, with a view to en- 
hance the idea of their pretended chastity, to resent the 
r eject imi of their own overtures^ or to banish from the 
society of their friends those to whom, from vicious 
motives, they had taken dislikes. This was a channel 
through which, every day, misunderstandings arose, 
and not unfreqently deadly quarrels ensued. In the 
hands of an artful woman, a fond and purblind keeper 
is a tool she can manage on all occasions to suit her 
own purposes ; and as the generality of men are the 
palpable dupes of their women, of course they are 
seldom permitted to view things through a fair me- 
dium, or to act consistently with the little judgment 
they may have. But, as such dupes and simpletons could 
neither be useful to themselves, their relatives, or their 
friends, their fighting would have been of little conse- 
quence, if they alone had to suffer, and had it not been 
that men of merit were sometimes involved, and be- 
came the victims of their resentment and blind cre- 

Lastly, there was the force of royal and distinguished 
example. Ad regis exemplar formantur populi. If the 
people became immoral after the fashion of George, 
Prince of Wales, and George the King, it was not to 
be wondered at that they affected to be duellists after 
the fashion of his Royal Highness the Duke of York, 
who gallantly fought a duel, or rather, generously re- 
ceived his antagonist's fire and reserved his own. 


Tliat was in 1 789 ; and about thirty years after we 
find his Royal Highness accepting the dedication of a 
work on duelling, the author of which endeavours " to 
express how much he is honoured by the condescen- 
sion of His Royal Highness, in devoting the few hours 
of relaxation which his numerous duties yielded, to 
read his treatise in all its parts, and in deeming it of 
importance enough to appear before the British nation, 
bearing the unequivocal mark of his Royal Highnesses 
illustrious patronage /^ 

In this work, the author, Gilchrist, denounces the 
"unsettled contrariety between civil law and military 
honour, which occasionally elicits cases of extraordinary 
evil to the parties immediately concerned, and of the 
nicest delicacy to those exalted personages who are 
ultimately called upon to decide by their interfering 
views. Appalling is the evil if a British officer re- 
ceives an insult and does not instantly take that notice 
of it which military usage requires, and thus pursue it 
to a fatal issue. I am aware that, under the present 
constitution of the army, no fair combatants will ever 
suffer the final and ignominious penalty of the law ; 
that royal clemency will, in all cases which are fairly 
represented, interfere and snatch from an ignominious 
fate men of honourable minds, — men to whom no 
malice prepense can for a moment be ascribed, or 
against whom no unfair proceedings can be substan- 
tiated.* But why should they be placed in the pos- 

* Kor was that all ; George IH. furnished intending duellists 

!■: ^ 


sible line of undergoing such an horrific test of tl 
understandings and their feelings ? 

^^ In this age of legislative investigation, when e'v 
usage, every principle affecting large portions of 
community, or its whole mass, have become the s 
ject of examination in committees of our enlighte 
legislators, would it be beneath their paternal car 
consider the situation of the honourable defender 
their country in this momentous respect, and educ 
system from their investigation as to fix on their 1 
basis the honour, the urbanity, and the social in 
course of military men? Under particular circ 
stances, a British officer has at present only the op 
between infamy on the one hand, and the infractio: 
the Articles of War, in combination with the wl 
mass of civily moral, and religious injunctions on 
other. And can it be the subject of a mementos i 
prise that the latter must, and ever will be, the ch 
of every man, and especially of every young man ^ 
makes the profession of arms: the object of his f 
election, and feels the conviction that a stain on 
courage is paramount to every possible considerati 
It matters not what moralists may say on the subj 
or jurists may advance, every military man knows, 
no one knows it better than the illustrious Pr: 
who is at the head of the army, that, as things : 

with a " pardon *' beforehand, which they carried in their poc 
to the ground, — as in the case of Earl Talbot with Wilke 
which the latter was aware. See the duel, Chapter XII. 


are, every officer of honourable feelings is compelled, 
under the circumstances already stated, to act in the 
way already described/^ 

Well, nous avons change tout cela; duelling has com- 
pletely disappeared from the British Army, thanks 
not only to the overwhelming force of public opinion, 
but also to the inexorable fiat of enactments, which 
render the sending of a challenge almost equivalent 
to suicide. It at once entails the loss of commission, 
besides subjecting the challenger to the great incon- 
veniences unscrupulously inflicted by the Civil Courts. 
There is, therefore, no help for it; and if a British 
officer feels himself, like Bob Acres, ^^ insulted in a 
manner which his honour cannot bear,^^ all he can do 
is to lay the case before his superiors, who will con- 
stitute themselves a Court of Honour, and settle the 
matter as they may think proper. 

The system seems to work admirably. In no army 
does there exist among the officers more good feel- 
ing, forbearance, and urbanity towards each other 
than in the British; and if, occasionally, we hear of 
some ^^ unpleasantness,^^ it comes from those whose 
higher position should induce them to be as gentle as 
they are strong — like Indian elephants. 

On the other hand, however, we may be quite sure, 
that as long as the present Eoyal Duke presides over 
the army, no delinquent in this respect, however 
e±alted, will be spared the lash of merited castigation, 
as in a recent case, too notorious to require more than 


a bare allusion, — the case of Sir W. Mansfield and 
Captain Jarvis. 

With the commencement of the present auspicious* 
reign, must be dated the decline and fall of duelling 
in England, after culminating, as it were, rather 
grandly with the famous Cardigan-Tucker afiair, and 
the magnificent farce of a trial in the House of Lords. 

It must be confessed, however, that the thing died 
hard among us, and not without a struggle. Nay, it 
seemed likely to revive in 1845, which was marked by 
a fatal duel, and witnessed the establishment — doubt- 
less with its appropriate snug offices, bland secretary, 
and seedy collector — of a ^^ Society for the Discourag- 
ing of Duelling." Ten years before, the Honourable 
Member who now dubs himself "Tear 'em," stood 
face to face with the editor of the ^ Morning Chronicle,' 
with whom he ^^ exchanged " two shots.* 

Such is the sketch of duelling in England, and it 
shows that if it had no healthy root in this country — 
as in France — still it was racy enough of the soil. 

Turning to Ireland, however, we find an impulsive 
race of beings, who flung themselves into the practice 
with a boisterous abandon or gaiety, as has been 
always their custom in every case in which any sort of 
fighting was to be done. 

" Irishmen," says a writer in ^ All the Year Round,'t 

"have been the most enthusiastic professors of this 


* See Chap. XIV. * Mr. Eoebuck and Mr. Black,' a.d. 1835. 
t May 10, 1862. 


refined chivaliy, and Ireland has been the happy- 
shunting ground^ of satisfaction. Wounded honour 
came to the green island, and went away soothed 
with ^a bullet through its thorax;^ perhaps was 
s pickled and sent home to its friends/ in the legi- 
timate mortuary chest. In no country has duelling 
enjoyed so healthy a vitahty. It was sustained con 
amove. The men and women of the country flung 
themselves into the exciting pastime with a generous 
enthusiasm. It was part of the curriculum of educa- 
tion. Every man was a knight of the pistol. 

s^A sacred procedure like this, was not to be left 
to the discretion of its own wild and unlicensed pro- 
fessors, who at any moment might bring discredit on 
their calling, by some little irregularity, unwarranted 
by rule. A few earnest spirits, therefore, put their 
hands to the good work, and fashioned a series of 
pandects, which may be said to have regulated the 
practice of the honourable profession. The names of 
these lawgivers should not be lost ; they were ^ Crow ^ 
Ryan, who was president, and James Keogh and 
^Amby^ Bodkin, secretaries. They ^ redacted^ the 
famous s Thirty-six Commandments of Galway,^ — so 
they were called, with a pleasant profanity — ^which 
were headed thus : — 

"^The practice' of duelling and points of honour 
settled at Clonmel Summer Assizes, 1777, by the 
gentlemen delegates of Tipperary, Galway, Mayo, 
Sligo, and Roscommon, and prescribed for general 
adoption throughout Ireland.^ 

VOL. I. E 


*^By these constitutions, it is enacted that ^the 
first ofience requires the first apology/ though the 
retort may have been the more ofiensive. However, 
it is to be open that the second ofience may be ex- 
plained away by apology, after one fire ; but if the 
parties would rather fight on, says constitution the 
second, then after two shots each (but in no case 
before) the second ofifender may explain first, and 
apologize afterwards. That little parenthesis ('in no 
case before ') should surely be read with small proba- 
bility 'after,^ for the intermediate necessity of 'two 
shots each^ rendered the chances of explanation or 
apology doubtful at the very least. Sometimes ex- 
planations are tolerated after three interchanges of 
shots, but this is a rare indulgence. Any wound 
sufficient to make the hand shake or agitate the 
nerves must end the business /or that day, 

'' No ' dumb shooting,^ the constitution goes on to 
say, with a happy expression, ' or firing in the air is 
admissible in any case.^ In slight cases the principals 
are furnished with one pistol, in gross cases two, the 
second holding another case of jpistols charged, in 

'' Sometimes, painful disagreements have been known 
to arise between the seconds, which can only be 
arranged by the same agency as the principals are 
employing. In these cases, symmetry is consulted, 
and the parties stand in a pretty quartett, at the four 
corners of a square, and fire at the same moment. 


The difficulty to discover a safe place of retreat for 
the gentleman who gives the word of command must 
be great, as the fire more or less covers each quarter 
of the horizon. 

" The days of jubilee for Irish duelling were those 
prior to the Union. Nothing is so mysterious as the 
gradual alteration in a nation^s manners. Strange to 
say, the old mode of arbitrament in the very country 
of ^ satisfaction ' appears to be utterly extinct. Now- 
a-days, this happy and simple mode of adjustment has 
fallen into disfavour. The cold shade of the Saxon 
has blighted the honest combativeness of the children 
of Erin. Before the Union, Ireland was the garden 
of duellists. Nay, it almost filled the function of the 
Propaganda College at Rome, and supplied a stock of 
missionaries to the rest of the world. The Irish ele- 
ment gave the tone to the rest of the fighting com- 
munity; and it is remarkable, that in* most of the 
recorded encounters of note, a Captain Kelly, a Cap- 
tain Lynch, or a Captain Bodkin, had invariably some- 
thing to do with the arrangements, in the capacity of 
principal, second, or perhaps accomplished referee, 
to be consulted on some neat duelling ' crux,^ such as 
only a man of ' iligant experience ^ could decide on. 

^^ About the year 1760, it was usual for every re- 
spectable family to have among its heirlooms the here- 
ditary pistols — the preservatives and vindicators of the 
family honour. These were tenderly regarded, and 
kept scrupulously clean and oiled; for no man knew 

E 2 


the moment when they would be required. The han- 
dles were mysteriously notched; and it was with a 
pardonable pride that the head of the house, when 
called on by the admiring stranger, would proceed to 
tell off (guided by those rude chroniclers, the notches 
aforesaid) the history of each notch ; for by each hung 
a tale, and — it must be added — a catastrophe. Sir 
Jonah Barrington swells with enthusiasm over a pair 
which had been in his family — ^in constant work, too 
— since the days of Elizabeth. Of course, adds the 
baronet, the cocks and barrels had been renewed. 
One of these ancestral ^ tools ^ was known by a phrase 
of endearment, as ^ sweet lips,' the other as ' the dar- 
ling / and the accumulated trophies, contributed by a 
long series of the Barrington family, must have been 
something very considerable. There was usually also 
a companion weapon kept carefully in the armoury, in 
case of an adversary drawing a ^choice of weapons;' 
and the baronet had a powerful instrument of this de- 
scription, known as ^ skiver the pullet ' — a happy ex- 
pression, in which lurks what Mr. Carlyle would call a 
'deep no-meaning,' and on which gloss or comment 
would throw much interesting light. Every domestic 
hearth had its ' skiver the pullet / and it may be 
taken for granted that each ' skiver the pullet ' had its 
own tally of legends or 'notches.' 

" This holy Irish chivalry chastened even the family 
circle. On Easter- day, a lady from the west tells the 
writer how, in her youth, she recalls one early morn- 



ing, barely forty years ago, when the son of the family 
was sent foi*th with blessings to prosecute a last 
night^s quarrels ; and how, when he returned scathe- 
less himself, and without having scathed others, he 
was met with lowering brows and ill-concealed dis- 
pleasure. The family honour had not been properly 
vindicated. The gloom even re-acted upon the chil- 
dren and domestics. The matron and mother would 
barely speak to her degenerate offspring — a picture of 
the unhealthy state of manners at the period. 

^^ Indeed, in the education of a young man about 
this time, there was considered to be an indefinable 
something wanting — analogous to the absence of a 
degree at college — when he had not qualified with the 
pistols. As soon as he became conspicuous enough to 
be the subject of any conversation, two questions were 
sure to be put, considered excellent tests in their way : 
^ What family is he of V ' Has he ever blazed ?' 

^^ In nuptial matters, ^ Big brother ' looked with as 
much nicety into these qualifications of the pretendant 
as the father did into his pecuniary abilities and settle- 
ments. Of course it is the same among those savages 
who have, on similar occasions, to show the scalps 
they have taken, or to tell, with proof, of other atro- 
cities. But the thing seems to have tinctured even 
mother^s milk, for they tell of a gentleman of some 
duelling eminence, who was heard trying to quiet his 
little boy with some such little endearments as these : 
— ^ Come, now, be a good boy ! Don^t, don^t cry, and 


you shall have a case of nice little pistols, and we^ll 
shoot them off in the morning !^ The lively offspring, 
delighted with the notion, began to dry its eyes, and 
revelled in the pleasing prospect. 

'^ At this epoch the counties of Tipperary and Gral- 
way were looked up to with a fond pride as the uni- 
versities of the science of duelling. Galway was held 
to turn out the best swordmen, much as Cambridge 
is esteemed for its mathematics ; but Tipperary took 
the higher ^ honours ^ of the pistol. The most notable 
graduates had the names of Jemmy Keogh, Buck 
English, Cosey Harrison, Crowe Eyan, Paddy Long, 
Amby Bodkin, Squire Falton, Squire Blake, and 
Amby Fitzgerald — names significant in the highest 
degree. These gentlemen bore the highest reputa- 
tion, and were profoundly skilled in all the points and 
niceties of this elegant chivalry. 

^' It was within the Irish barristerial ranks, in the 
sacred order whose province was the vindication and 
the interpretation of the law, that this violation of its 
strictest injunctions was carried out. The priests and 
the preachers of the Legal Temple were by far the 
most daring sinners. The judges of the land — ^where 
their arguments failed to convince, or were fortified by 
a tone and expression derived from no higher source 
than the mere accident of exalted position — were will- 
ing to gauge the issue by a fairer test. There is a list 
of legal worthies preserved, who have adopted this im- 
partial mode of arrangement. 


^^ Another list lias been handed down of the more 
notable encounters. We find a Lord Chancellor fight- 
ing a Master of the Bolls; a Chief Justice fighting 
two peers and two other gentlemen; a local Judge 
fighting a Master of the Eolls and four others; a 
Baron of the Exchequer fighting his own brother-in- 
law and two others; a Chancellor of the Exchequer 
fighting a Privy Councillor; a Provost of College 
fighting a Master in Chancery; and another Chief 
Justice disposing of three gentlemen from the country, 
one with swords, another with guns— wounding - aU 
three ! 

^^So repeated were these little difi'erences in the 
case of the well-known Lord Norbury, that he was 
happily said to have ^ shot up ' into preferment. 

^^It strikes the modem mind with astonishment — 
the mind that has not as yet become ^ more Irish and 
less nice ^ — to see the intimate manner in which these 
two departments of the profession were linked to- 
gether. A nice capacity for pleading, and a nice eye 
for levelling, were equally essential. It would be 
madness, indeed, to be deficient in either, when there 
was to be found a noble lord, who, being worsted in a 
series of suits, determined to vindicate himself by call- 
ing out, seriatim, the dozen barristers or so who were 
retained on the other side. Commencing with the 
attorney, and distributing the parts among his own 
sons, he disposed of three, when some circumstances 
interfered and checked his future progress. 


'^ Counsel often fell out on circuit, would leave court 
and hurry to an adjoining field, ^ blaze/ and return (if 
the issue admitted of it) to the Court, where Judge and 
jury were anxiously expecting them. 

^^ A perfect chronicle of duelling, taken on its face- 
tious as well as on its serious side, may be found set 
out in detail in Sir Jonah* Barrington's volumes, who 
enumerates no less than two hundred and twenty-seven 
^ memorable and official duels as having occurred du- 
ring ^ his grand climacteric/ So lately as the O'Con- 
nell trials, the Attorney-General prosecuting, showed 
himself no degenerate member of his order, and wrote 
a challenge across the table to his adversary. 

^^ Even when sojourning in a strange land, and under 
the blighting influence of the cold and order-loving 
Saxon, the traditions of his country did not desert the 
Irish gentleman. In the little pugnacious entries in 
the London Chronicle, which were as invariably re- 
corded as the births and marriages, the exiled Hiber- 
nian took his part, not ingloriously. He turned up, 
often playing principal, very often second. His known 
experience made him an invaluable assistant, or even 
arbitrator. The inexperienced Saxon was grateful for 
his services. Thus, in the year 1777, where my Lord 
Milton met my Lord Poulett 'this morning at ten 
o^clock,^ my Lord Poulett was fortunate enough to 
secure ' Captain Kelly^s^ advice and aid as his second. 
The natural tiies of kindred — often carried to an absurd 
extent — were, in the case of unhappy Irish diflferences, 


no bar to a happy adjustment according to the laws of 
honour. Thus, ^ a duel was this day fought (1 763) be- 
tween two brothers, Irish gentlemen, in Kensington 
Gravel-pits, in which one received so dangerous a 
wound that his hfe is despaired oV This quarrel arose 
out of the barbarous treatment of a sister by one of her 
brothers, she having married an officer against the 
wishes of the family. 

^' Again, the rather shabby protection aflTorded by 
what is called ^ the cloth ^ was not allowed to avail, or, 
at least, was gracefully waived by the offender. The 
instance of the Reverend Mr. Hill is full of instruction. 
In 1764, ' a duel was fought in Epping Forest between 
Colonel Gardiner, of the Carabineers, and the Reverend 
Mr. Hill, Chaplain to Bland's Dragoons, when the lat- 
ter received a wound of which he died two days later. 
Mr. Hill,' continues the obituary notice, ^ was an Irish 
gentleman, of good address, great sprightliness, and 
had an excellent talent for preaching, but was of too 
volatile a turn for his profession.' " 

Among the narratives of duels in the sequel, the pe- 
culiar talent and characteristics of the sons of Erin will 
be found sufficiently exemplified to satisfy, I trust, the 
requirement of such an important page in the history 
of that great country. 

With such a race of men to deal with, no wonder 
that Queen Elizabeth's Minister, Lord Burleigh, wished 
Ireland at the bottom of the sea ; and the fact explains 
the difficulty now occupying, and likely ever to tax the 
utmost energies and discretion of England. 


The practice of duelling seems to be reviving in 
France, the slightest differences leading to hostile 
meetings among all ranks. The eminent names which 
now and then figure in duels must tend to preserve its 

The chronicles of the Bois de Boulogne (taking the 
arena in its evident sense as symbolical of such battle 
grounds aU over France) show many encounters be- 
tween Frenchmen and foreigners. But the . Bois de 
Boulogne has been invaded by the beautifiers of the 
Empire, and its pleasant privacy for such meetings is 
disturbed. It used to enjoy the distinction of being 
the traditional locus in quo of all tournaments, just as 
Chalk Farm was the trysting-place for London; and 
The Fifteen Acres, ^^ be they more or less,^^ as the at- 
torney writing his challenge observed with professional 
accuracy — for Dublin. 

The various localities to which duellists resorted to 
settle their affairs of honour have long since ceased to 
be suited for such meetings, even if duelling were still 
in vogue. All of them are either built over, or have 
become so habitually thronged, thai the privacy of 
"affairs of honour^^ could not possibly be secured. 
Such has been the change effected in a century. " It 
is difficult for a Londoner at this day to imagine the 
loneliness of Hyde Park a century ago. A portion of 
May Fair was then the extreme western limit of the 
metropolis. The aristocratic region of Park Lane was 
then, and, indeed, at a much later period, a wild and 


desolate region, in which dust-contractors had been 
permitted to carry on their business, and to accumu- 
late mountainous cinder-heaps, stretching far away to- 
wards the Oxford Eoad. Except the few houses, and 
the ancient roadside public-house, which formed the 
^village of Knightsbridge,^ there were no habitations 
on the southern side save a cottage here and there in 
the broad fields between Knightsbridge and Chelsea. 
On the northern side lay Tyburn-fields, famous as the 
scene of executions of malefactors. The Parh was no- 
torious as a place where footpads prowled, and where 
duels took place without much danger of observation 
or interference."* 

Finally, duelling in America and the colonies fur- 
nishes an interesting chapter, both as respects the 
horrible and the comical, of the practice. 

What with daring and dashing personal encounters, 
with rifle at long range, or six-shooter revolver at 
close quarters, that mighty great nation has decidedly 
^nicked all creation" in the practice of duelling, as 
they have done in everything else, according to their 

Cassell's Magazine. 





I. The Sword. 

" I REMEMBER," says a writer on duelling, '' upon one 
occasion, an affair between a young officer who was 
unquestionably a first-rate foil-player, and another who 
had been little accustomed to handle the weapon. I 
felt confident, when informed of what was to take 
place, that the inferior player would run through the 
body of the other in a few minutes. He was, however, 
a hardy, active, thickset youth, with the eye of a hawk 
and the nerve of a lion. 

^^ Although aware of the decided odds against him, 
he stood before his antagonist's blade without flinch- 
ing or moving a muscle, seemingly determined, as his 
mind was made up, to die, to sell his life as dearly as 
possible. He commenced by making several furious and 
random thrusts. Had foils instead of swords been in 
their hands, he would have felt his adversary's point 


against Ids breast a dozen times. But I saw the fear- 
ful appearance of a sharp, polished blade moving so 
rapidly within a few inches of the breast, — was not 
quite so agreeable to the first-rate player as the foil, his 
usual weapon, and, in fact, he appeared half paralysed. 
'' I mention this affair to show that something more 
than skill is necessary when using a naked weapon 
or shotted * pistol ; and the most able fencer and the 
first-rate shot are not always the best men in the 

Doubtless there is a great difference between mere 
able fencers or first-rate shots and practised duellists 
with sword or pistol; but most assuredly there is a 
touch with the former weapon ^^ along the line," by 
which, like the spider described by the poet, the 
practised duellist at once discovers the game of his 
opponent, and calculates the method of finishing the 
contest. I know an instance in which an opponent 
was made to spit himself by the very first lounge he 
made, as soon as his game was discovered. 

Casimir Perier had to fight a duel, but had never 
handled a sword. He was allowed eight days to pre- 
pare himself, and so he placed himself under the cele- 
brated fencing-master Fabien. Every morning Casimir 
Perier shut himself up with Fabien and worked at the 

^foils. At the expiration of the week, however, the 
^feir in which he was involved was arranged, and the 

% ^kt did not take place; but Fabien was curious to 
ee how this extemporized fencer would manage with 



regularly practised opponents. At the time in ques- 
tion Casimir Perier was only a banker, and unknown 
to the world, and Fabien introduced him at one of his 
Sunday reunions, at his salon in the Rue Richelieu. 
He arranged two assaults, in which Casimir Perier, 
confining himself to the simple and specially adapted 
game in which he had been initiated by the master, 
succeeded to perfection. His opponent, astonished by 
the dash and hrusquerie of an attack which was as 
strange as it was irregular, received three or four 
hits in succession, after which Fabien took good care 
to stop the engagement. Casimir Perier was en- 
chanted, transported beyond bounds by this unex- 
pected triumph, and determined to continue taking 
the same kind of lessons. Some time after, however, 
he had to face the very same opponents, but this time 
it was in serious combat. The latter had had time for 
reflection, and Casimir Perier then found that, without 
method in fencing, it is impossible to count on any- 
thing but on advantage resulting from surprise. He 
accordingly set to work seriously, mastered the entire 
art and science, and became what the French call ^^a 
very dangerous and very difficult fencer,^' perhaps 
equal to the famous Saint- Georges, of whom more in 
the sequel. 

The art of fencing, in its totality, is about the same 
in every country; but there have always been many 
secret tricks in the practice, the knowledge of which 
constituted the repute of its professors. In imparting 


them, not only was the pupil solemnly sworn never to 
reveal tlie mysterious practice, but the instructions 
were given in strict privacy, after having examined 
every part of the room, the furniture, and the very walls, 
to ascertain that no third person could have been con- 
cealed to witness the deadly lesson. Such cuts and 
thrusts are called by the French cowps de maitre, 
^' master-hits,^^ and by the lower orders, more appro- 
priately perhaps, coups de malin, " sly cuts/^ 

A pass or thrust in fencing is called a botte by the 
French, and the celebrated duellist Saint- Evremond 
discovered a particular thrust, which was honoured 
with his name, and called la botte de Saint- Svremond. 

Even among the knights of old such tricks were in 
practice. We read of a curious case of one of them 
who, having been taught invariably to strike at the 
region of the heart, insisted upon fighting in a suit of 
armour with an opening in each cuii^ass of the breadth 
of the hand over the heart. The result, of course, was 
immediately fatal to his antagonist. In addition to 
these tricks of the oH, there were also tricks of the 
trade ; the cunning of the armourers was frequently 
resorted to in order to obtain unfair advantages. A 
skilful workman in Milan had carried his mode of tem- 
pering steel to such a point of perfection that the so- 
hdity of the sword and dagger depended entirely on 
the manner in which they were handled. In the 
hands of the inexperienced the weapons flew iuto 
shivers, whereas in the grasp of a skilful combatant 


they were as trusty as the most approved blades of 

The sword-blades of Toledo have always carried off 
the palm as trusty weapons ; proof against all violence 
without breaking. One was shown at the recent 
French Exhibition bent into a complete circle, and 
yet straight as an arrow on being released. The 
secret of their manufacture is said to be a core of soft 
iron coated with steel. 

In order to accustom himself to the appearance of 
a naked blade when opposed to him — an important 
preparation for mortal combat — a duellist constructed 
an apparatus in the following manner : — He procured 
a strong iron spring, wormed in a conical shape, with 
the base riveted into a small iron plate pierced with 
four holes ; this he screwed into the wall of hi*s cham- 
ber. At the smallest end of the spring was fixed a 
socket, into which the blade of a fencing sword was 

His practice consisted in standing for an hour at a 
time before this apparatus with his foil, thrusting, 
parrying, and keeping it constantly in motion. 

In this way, the nervous feeling produced by the 
sight of the point of a naked weapon is overcome, as 
much, at least, as is possible by artificial mej>ns. The 
wrist, also, acquires a degree of strength and pli- 
ability that enables a man to handle his sword more 

* Millingen. 


Great judgment is required in the choice of the 
sword-blade, and its temper should always be carefully 
^^ proved/' 

Particular care is also necessary to prevent its get- 
ting rusty from the moisture of the atmosphere or 
other causes. The blade should be well wiped, if 
not used, once a week with flannel, and the sheath 
should be placed for half an hour before the fire. 

All practised duellists take good care, if in an affair 
they puncture their adversary, to carefully wipe their 
sword with their handkerchief, before returning it to 
the scabbard. A beautiful Toledo has been known 
to be considerably damaged by carelessness in this 
respect. During the confusion that necessarily arises 
when a principal receives the coup de coeur or home- 
thrust, such an accident to the trusty weapon is very 
likely to occur. 

So much for the sword in personal combats; but 
all Englishmen who go abroad and get involved in 
any affair of the kind should prefer the pistol to the 
sword, when they have the choice of the weapon, for the 
odds must invariably be against them with the latter. 
With the sword, the balance of killed and wounded 
has always been much in favour of the French. It is 
well known that, upon the termination of the last war, 
the French amused themselves by occasionally spitting 
{emhrochcmty as they called it) some half-dozen of our 
travelling young fashionables every day, before break- 

VOL. I. F 


The coflfee-liouses were then infested by a set of 
bullies, sworn to exterminate the sacres Anglms (after 
Waterloo), and their practice was to insult every 
young foreigner of juvenile appearance; and being 
men who had served in the Republican and Imperial 
army, accustomed from their earliest years to face 
danger in every form, they had the advantage, even 
when their antagonists were equally skilful in handling 
the weapon. They generally returned victorious from 
the encounter, feeling, what to many may seem im- 
possible, a pleasure in having added another notch to 
their score of victims. 

Few sensations are more delightful than those we 
enjoy upon finding ourselves secure after our lives 
have been placed in imminent peril, and men who 
have once known the pleasure of escaping danger 
often seek it, or are, at least, careless about exposing 
their persons, hoping again to experience similar 

II. — The Pistol. 

Nothing seems easier than to pull a trigger and 
discharge a pistol ; yet no one, until the experiment is 
made, can be aware of the difficulty in firing with 
accuracy and celerity. 

To become what is called a dead shot, it is neces- 
sary, first, to procure a good brace of pistols ; secondly, 
to observe that they are carefully and properly charged, 
much more depending upon the method of charging 


than is generally supposed; and thirdly, to devote 
some time every day to practice. 

The pistols should measure about ten inches in 
length in the barrels, which should be octagon rather 
than round, and ought to be, at least, two-eighths of an 
inch in thickness, carrying a ball of about forty-eight 
to the pound. 

They should be furnished with percussion locks of 
delicate workmanship, fitted into a firm handle, bent 
into a curve that will fit the hand comfortably. 

To each barrel should be fixed two sights ; one on 
the breach, carefully set for the centre ; the second, 
about half an inch from the muzzle, and this also 
should be adjusted with the greatest accuracy. Silver 
sights were once very commonly in use, but they were 
often apt, when the sun glared upon them, to dazzle 
and deceive the eye. Those of steel are the best. 

The inside of the barrel should be polished to the 
highest degree, and the greatest care taken never to 
allow a particle of rust to collect within it. 

Some pistols used to be half rifled, that is, cut with 
spiral grooves from the breech to the centre of the 
inside of the barrel, the advantage of which I cannot 
see, first, on account of the spherical bullet, and next, 
from the fact that the part unrifled would necessarily 
annul the effect of rifling in the other part, supposing 
it effective. 

* The fact was, that a pistol wholly rifled was con- 
sidered an unfair weapon to duel with, and, therefore, 
<^ F 2 


those which appeared not to be rifled (though in 
reality half rifled) were substituted. They had, how- 
ever, no advantage over the plain barrel at twelve or 
fifteen paces, which is the usual duelling distance, 
although, according to one authority, they were supe- 
rior at a long range. 

Joseph Manton (succeeded by Purdey) was always 
famous for his duelling pistols. I have recently fallen 
in with a pair of these old Josephs, which had evi- 
dently done service in their time. The '^feel,^^ when 
held in position, was exquisite, so admirably balanced, 
that the tool seemed capable of hitting, or enabling 
any expert to hit, a crown-piece at any distance up to 
fifty yards. In presenting the pistol, it positively 
felt as part and parcel of the system connected with 
the nerves, responsive to the will. Nothing exceeds 
the delight of handling a thoroughly good pistol. All 
its movements are, as it were, kind words of comfort 
and security; those, indeed, of a trusty friend that 
will never fail us in the hour of need. Manton^s price 
for a pair of duelling pistols was fifty guineas ; hence, 
everybody could not have a pair; and hence, also, 
the diflBculty of borrowing a pair, when required, as 
occurred to Sir Francis Burdett^s second, in his affair 
with Mr. Paull. 

The hair-trigger ! None of your heavy puU-offs for 
duelUng pistols — excepting in the barbarous times of 
the art, when combatants had to do their best with the 
worst tools imaginable. The hair-trigger is the ino^ 


delicate part of the lock of a duelling pistol. Its con- 
struction requires the greatest nicety of workmanship, 
which can only be secured from the best makers. 

Of course duelling pistols could be made to pull off 
very fine at fuU cock, instead of a hair-trigger, but it 
is impossible to fire so accurately with these, because 
the very movement of the muscles of the hand neces- 
sary to pull the common trigger — ^however fine — ^ren- 
ders the arm unsteady. Your hair-trigger is the very 
counterpart — the artificial reproduction of the living 
nerve — in fact, volition. It is, however, a little slower » 

No doubt, numerous accidents occurred through 
its use by inexperienced and careless persons; but 
any one intending to use the hair-trigger should take 
the trouble to make himself perfectly master of the 
principle upon which it is constructed, and be careful 
that it is never set too fine. If the principle is under- 
stood, hair springs may be used with less risk, as it 
will be apparent in what particular care is required. 

The hair-trigger should never be set until the pistol 
is pointed to the ground, and only raised afterwards 
in the direction of the intended fire — ^being careful to 
keep it always so pointed until the piece is discharged; 
for even with locks of first-rate makers there is no se- 
curity when once the trigger is set. 

If constantly in the practice of pistol-firing, it is a 
good rule to observe — and one that, when strictly ad- 
hered to, may prevent much mischief — never to permit 
the muzzle of your piece to be pointed in such a di- 




rection that it can do injury if ifc goes oflF — excepting 
when you wish to do execution. Keep it always 
pointed towards the ground when loaded. 

For firing rapidly, with accuracy, much depends 
upon the stock of the pistol fitting the hand comfort- 
ably, and the whole balancing justly — that is, the 
weight not being too great towards the muzzle. When 
this is the case, it renders more efibrt necessary to 
hold the pistol in a Une with the object ; and the more 
exertion required in holding it, the less steady is the 

All who furnish themselves with pistols of any kind, 
either for duelling or for self-defence when required, 
should take care that the stock fits the hand comfort- 
ably. Some hands require a large thick stock, others 
a shorter and thinner. At one period the saw-handled 
pistols were much in use; but they are clumsy; the 
plain stock is the best. 

There is, or should be, a rest for the forefinger, 
attached to the guard; this is very useful, being a 
great steadiment to the hand in holding all descrip- 
tions of long-barrelled pistols, and not at all in the 

It is absolutely necessary that every practitioner 
should himself ascertain the ^^ dispart ^^ or throw of his 
pistol. If the pistol be directed to any object exactly, 
the ball will strike below it, owing to the effect of 
gravitation, which tends to bring all things down 
towards the earth, even the swiftly-flying bullet or 




cannon-ball. Hence, we must always aim ahcyve an 
object to hit it, and the bullet^s path is a curved line, 
called the '^ trajectory/^ 

" The Bullet's path on high 
Fashions the curve we call trajectory. 
The art of aiming on this curve is based — 
Its rules by gravitation sternly traced. 
If on a distant object we direct 
The axis of the piece, the bolt is check'd— 
Droops by the force of Gravity, to hit 
Below the actual point design'd for it. 
But give the muzzle * elevation ' due- 
It hits the mark with aim unerring, true : 
By aptly raising thus the line of fire — see ! 
To it conforms our new trajectory." * 

Draw the figure of a tube ; from the centre describe 
a right line ; this is the line of fire. Then, as shown 
in such a figure, by raising the muzzle we raise, or 
give elevation to, the line of fire from the muzzle of 
the piece, and then gravitation bends the line into 
the curve ending on the object. Every boy finds out 
that he must aim in this way in throwing a stone or 
in pitching his marble. But wonderful must have been 
the accuracy of those seven hundred slingers mentioned 
in the Bible who could sling stones with the left 
hand ^^ at an hair breadth and not miss ^^ (Judges xx. 


To discover the variation from the true line in pistol 
firing, the practitioner should procure a large vice, 

* Steinmetz, * The Eifle and the Man.' 

t One of the commentators thinks it necessary to say that 


such as is or was kept for this purpose in town at the 
shooting-galleries, and fixing his pistol firmly in it, 
discharge it several times, with the same charge of 
powder, at the same object or point, marking carefully 
how the balls fall. 

In the best pistols the dispart will occasion a varia- 
tion of half an inch in a distance of twelve or fifteen 
yards, and in some it is two or three inches. Allow- 
ance must always be made for this irregularity in 
taking aim, raising the muzzle to the extent of the fall 
by gravity; and when the dispart is once correctly 
ascertained, this is easily done. The flatness of the 
trajectory, or its deviation from the point aimed at, 
depends upon the construction of the barrel, etc., 
points of the Science of Musketry which we need not 

this expression is " hyperbolical ;" but the extreme accuracy of 
the ancients with the sling is well known. Numerous examples 
are given in the Bible, as that of the duel between David and 
Goliath. Ancient writers enlarge on the proficiency of the 
natives of the Balearic Islands, with their slings. " They threw 
large stones with such violence that they seemed to be projected 
from some machine, so that no helmet or armour could resist 
their stroke, and with such exactness as rarely to miss their aim 
— being constantly exercised from their infancy, their mothers 
not allowing them to have any food until they struck it down 
from the top of a pole with stones thrown from their slings." 
The sling was very common in Greece, and was used by their light 
infantry. Arrows, stones, and leaden plummets were thrown 
from them, some of which weighed not much less than a pound. 
Seneca says that their motion was so violent that the leaden 
plummets were frequently melted — which does seem rather " hy- 


here discuss beyond the practical bearings of the 

Many a case of duelling pistols, as before men- 
tioned, has had a history attached to it — of terrible 
execution done in its day. In the West Indies crack 
pistols used to be as much in vogue as crack shots, 
and the fortunate owner found himself constantly beset 
for the loan of them, which being prohibited by law, 
he would refuse to lend them, adding — ^^But if you 
steal them I can^t help it,^^ — ^pointing to the case on 
the table. Of course they were ^' stolen ^^ accordingly, 
finding their way back after the day^s execution. I 
have seen a pair of duelUng pistols which had the 
credit of having sent twenty-five gentlemen to ^^ their 
long account,^^ and finally the ovmer ! 




The art of handling fire-arms should always be consi- 
dered a very necessary branch of the education of a 
youth, as enabling him, when shooting, to use his gun 
without risking his own life, or endangering the lives 
of those near him ; and also that, in the event of his be- 
ing placed, by any unforeseen circumstance, in a situa- 
tion of peril, he may feel a proper confidence in him- 
self, and not embolden his antagonist by appearing to 
want nerve or science. The Germans and Americans 
are very careful that their youths should be instructed 
how to handle the rifle and musket; and during the 
war with the Americans, it is well known that our re- 
giments sufiered severely from their extraordinary pro- 
ficiency as marksmen. No doubt the great Volunteer 
movement has tended immensely to familiarize our 


youth with the use of the tULq, so that, should the 
necessity ever arise, the sons of England will be able 
to give a good account of any invaders of our sacred 
soil. Whether pistol-practice should be encouraged 
and promoted may be a diflFerent question, with re- 
ference to the well-founded objection to duelling; but, 
still, occasions may occur in which dexterity in the use 
of the pistol will be of the greatest advantage. All 
the French cavalry are provided with pistols, and they 
are systematically taught how to use them. Field- 
Marshal Radetzky said that all cavalry should be fur- 
nished with pistols, because a fire-arm is often of great 
service to a horseman for personal defence ; and that 
excellent authority. Dr. Russell, the well-known Cri- 
mean correspondent, was of the same opinion, and 
gave good advice how revolvers were to be carried. 

Therefore, for legitimate self-defence, pistol-firing 
should be taught and practised, even should it never 
be contemplated that a young man may be placed in 
the situation described in the following narrative : — 

'^ Early one fine morning, while cantering over the 
downs on the Rottingdean side of Brighton, enjoying 
heartily the fresh southern breeze that gently swept 
the blue waters beneath me, I observed a small group 
of persons assembled, who, upon nearer approach, ap- 
peared to be adjusting an afiair of honour. 

" Urged, partly by curiosity and partly by the desire 
of rendering assistance in case of necessity, I rode to- 
wards them, and found the combatants — two young 


men, one apparently a naval officer — on the point of 

'' In a few seconds they were stationed— «, few more, 
and the jar of ^ cocking^ fell on my ear — ^a sound that 
at other times would scarcely be noticed, but which, 
on occasions like the present, while all around wait in 
breathless expectancy, and observe the most death-like 
silence, produces a magical eflFect. 

^^ I carefully surveyed their countenances and posi- 
tion. The sailor, who appeared the elder of the two, 
seemed as cool and collected, as if engaged only in an 
ordinary aflFair of duty; not a muscle or expression 
portrayed the least sign of fear. He stood in a firm, 
steady position, his right side only opposed to his ad- 
versary, and raised his hand with a most extraordinary 
degree of nerve, covering well his right breast with the 
muscular part of his right arm. 

"The other, on the contrary, appeared. much agi- 
tated, looked ghastly pale ; had evidently enjoyed little 
sleep the preceding night ; stood with nearly a whole 
front exposed ; and raised his trembling hand so awk- 
wardly, that any one would have suspected he had 
never fired a pistol before. 

'^Upon the suspension of the handkerchief — the 
sign in duelHng — those present (the seconds, a sur- 
geon, and servants) removed nearly thirty yards from 
the principals. After a momentary pause the hand- 

* Leeching is the duelling term for stepping up to the spot 
whence you fire. 


kerchief dropped, and both triggers were pulled. The 
sailor's pistol, however, missed fire, most probably 
from some carelessness in the method of loading ; and 
the charge from that of his opponent, as might have 
been expected, did no injury, passing, I should guess, 
nearly three feet to the right. 

^'The seconds immediately closed in, and endea- 
voured to arrange the aflfair ; but the seafaring gentle- 
man would listen to no terms of accommodation, pro- 
testing that he had a right to his fire. Neither of the 
seconds had before been engaged in a transaction of 
this nature, and too ignorant to deny his assertions in 
support of his claim, were actually bringing him the 
other pistol, when I interfered. 

''He was one of those athletic sons of Neptune 
whose very tone of voice produces an almost irresist- 
ible impulse to obey ; and the seconds, who were both 
much agitated, seemed evidently overawed by his sten- 
torian power of lungs. 

'' My interference offended him ; nor did he appear 
very pleased when I informed him that, if his fire 
proved fatal to his antagonist, I should do myself the 
pleasure of remaining in his company until I saw him 
in the charge of some officer of justice, to whom I 
would give my name and address, that evidence might 
not be wanting on his trial. 

'' I beHeve he suspected I was a horse-patrol in dis- 
guise, for he immediately returned his pistol, and after 
a moment's conversation with his friend, walked to- 


wards the town, remarking, however, that the affair 
' should not terminate thus/ 

" I received the hearty thanks of those who remained 
for having so successfully played the Bow Street officer ; 
and from them I learned that the meeting took place, 
Hke most affairs between young men, in consequence 
of some dispute respecting a female. I was also as- 
sured that, in all probability, the matter would rest 
here, as the rough son of Neptune had his sailing orders 
in his pocket, and was hourly expected to get under 
weigh for a two years^ cruise. 

''While returning, I could not otherwise than seri- 
ously reflect on the scene I had witnessed. Here was 
a fine, healthy young fellow — the pride of his parents 
' — the admiration of his friends — ^in the spring of his 
days — placed in a situation where his life might have 
been sacrificed in a moment, and quite ignorant how 
to conduct himself, or make the most of the advan- 
tages he possessed for his defence » 

'' His life had been saved, indeed, almost by a mi- 
racle, for so cool and collected was the young sailor, 
and apparently so well skilled in handhng the weapon 
jprith which he fought, that the consequences would, in 
all probability, have proved fatal, had the percussion 
cap exploded.^^ 

There can be no objection to this sound and elo- 
quent reasoning except that, if the young man had 
been equally practised, cool, and collected, he would 
probably have sent the son of Neptune to his long 


home, whilst the latter would thus have had an addi- 
tional pang added to his miss-fire and the exasperation 
of his tender wrongs, which led to the hostile meeting. 
However, perhaps this is no reason why we should 
not direct attention to the practice of pistol-firing with 
the view of adequate self-defence when necessary, 
especially in present prospects. 

1. Charging the Pistol, 

This is no trivial matter, and no one can expect to 
be a good shot unless he understands charging a pistol. 
It is only by experience that we can discover how small 
a portion of powder is sufficient foi' a charge. For a 
long period it was the custom in loading to use the small 
powder-horns made for the purpose, having a measure 
affixed to them, and this was mostly put in Ml. Now 
it is impossible to feel certain of killing any small ob- 
ject with a duelling pistol so charged, and there can 
be no doubt that the reason of our countrymen being 
generally such indifferent shots, in former times at 
least, arose from their ignorance respecting the quan- 
tity of powder required. 

On taking a pistol from the case for the purpose of 
loading, first apply the muzzle to the mouth and blow 
gently through it, to carry off any loose dust collected 
in the barrel, and ascertain that the touch-hole is clear. 
Next put the hammer at half-cock and stop it ; then 
pour in from a measure the quantity of powder re- 
quired. The exact proportion of powder requisite of 


any given strength wiU be ascertained by observing 
how the balls are flattened when fired at an iron target. 
They should drop off about the size of a shilling or 
rather less ; but if the charge is too large, they will be 
totally destroyed. 

The ball should be cast with great nicety, and filed 
perfectly round ; placing it in a piece of the finest kid 
glove leather, ram it gently down, keeping the thumb 
on the touch-hole, that no powder may escape."'^ 

At present, however, breech-loading is destined to 
supersede all these precautions in loading, although, 
I suppose that, for duelling purposes in Europe, the 
old-fashioned weapon will continue to secure the pre- 

2. Method of Practice, 

For the purpose of pistol practice, we must select a 
suitable place where there is a range of from fifteen to 
twenty yards, and where a strong wall or rising ground 

* Many a bullet is ruined by the rammingy and too much care 
cannot be taken in the operation. 

"Nor yet neglect your bullet's shape and grace — 
The fair proportions of her pretty face. 
Shield the dear creature from all usage rough — 
And oh! refrain from aught like fisticuff! 
E/Cmember, when you load, the golden hint — 

* Two steady pressures firm * — there 's plenty in *t. 

* All strokes that may indent her point avoid ;' 
Disfigured thus, her cleavage is destroy 'd. 

Aye, let your * home * be * sweet;' indeed, my friend — 
Badges, pence, twopences on it depend." 

Steinmetz, ' The Rifle and the Man.* 


will check the progress of the bullet, should we miss 
the target. The target must be a round piece of cast- 
iron, about three feet in diameter and an inch in thick- 
ness, raised about three feet from the ground, so that 
the top may be about the height of a man standing. 
It must be blackened over with a composition of size 
and lampblack, and two dozen white wafers must be 
stuck upon it in three rows. 

Then, retreating to a distance of fourteen or fifteen 
paces, begin firing, being careful to keep always in a 
firm, steady position, and pick off the wafers regu- 
larly one after the other. 

Endeavour to raise the pistol from below upwards, 
so that it will come immediately direct in a line with 
the object. Do not keep it too firm and stifl* in the 
hand, for if grasped very tightly the hand trembles. 
Fix the forefinger inside the trigger-guard, and let it 
lie loosely against the trigger. When the trigger is 
pulled, move only the knuckle-joint, and that not more 
than necessary, lest the motion should disturb the 
muscles of the hand and arm and shake the pistol, for 
the slightest deviation from the right line will be pro- 
digiously exaggerated by the distance, so that the ball 
must go considerably to the right, left, above, or 
below the point aimed at, if not the entire target. 

Some of the strangest misses occur in duelling. 
Thus, Earl Talbot and Wilkes fought at only eight 
yards^ distance, and missed ! They fought with large 

VOL. I. G 


On presenting the pistol never hesitate more than 
two or three seconds in aiming, for unless a man fires 
quickly he can never fire well. One of the greatest 
difficulties is to know the exact moment when to fire ; 
and all hesitation only aggravates the matter, where- 
upon the breathing becomes hurried, and then accu- 
rate aim is impossible.* 

Much depends upon the position in duelling or in 
.firing generally. The risk in duelling may be consi- 
derably lessened by care in the manner of turning the 
body towards the adversary. "I have often seen,'' 
says a practised duellist, " a raw inexperienced fellow 
expose his person most unnecessarily, — standing with 
a full front towards his antagonist, and neglecting to 
bring down his arms, he oifered the other party a 
much larger surface to fire at than the laws of duelling 
require, rendering, of course, the danger to himself 
greater. Many a poor, long-armed, straggling feUow 
has received the coup de coeur, who might still have 
been in existence had he known how to protect his 
person in the field.'' 

* With the cavalry pistol the French practice is as follows : — 

1. Carry the right foot about twenty-six inches from the left; 
cock the pistol; raise it vertically, the trigger-guard to the 
front, the wrist to the front and about six inches from the shoul- 
der ; the first finger extended along the trigger-guard. 

2. Present. Lower the pistol, the arm being half extended ; 
place the first finger on the trigger, the muzzle pointing to the 
centre of the target. Avoid squeezing the fingers, to diminish 
the trembling of the hands. 


On the position whicli a man takes when he fights 
a duel, depends, at least as one to four, that he is or 
is not killed or wounded. The attitude, therefore, to 
be taken, is that which presents the least surface. 
This being premised, it is almost unnecessary to say- 
that a direct front face is always to be given over 
the right shoulder, which presents a surface more than 
one-fourth less than a side-face. A ball has been 
known to make a groove across the ear, grazing the 
side of the head, and sometimes carrying off the side 
lock, as in the case of the Duke of York in his duel 
with Colonel Lennox. Had the side-face been pre- 
sented, the consequences would have been- fatal in all 
these cases. 

Due attention has also to be had to the position of 
the body. The side, which is by much the narrowest, 
should be carefully given — the belly drawn in, and the 
right thigh and leg placed so as to cover the left ; at 
the same time the right hip must be twisted a little, 
so as merely to cover or guard the lower extremities 
of the belly. Balls have been frequently known to 
graze from one shoulder to the other, making a furrow 
across the chest, and in like manner across the back ; 
whereas were the front presented, all such balls would 
"take place,'^ perhaps mortally. Numberless instances 
might be given of these hair-breadth escapes, due to 
a good position. Lastly, the pistol should not be 
lowered until your adversary has fired, as it is a par- 
tial guard to your head, arm, and shoulder. In fact, 



much of the art of firing with the pistol consiBts in 
bringing the pistol well over your own body, towards 
your left breast, easily foreshortening your right arm, 
and in firing with both your eyes open. 

In addition to all these terrible niceties of the art, 
listen to the remarks of the eminent surgeon, Mr. 
Guthrie, in one of his clinical lectures at the Westmin- 
ster Hospital. He said, in May, 1833 — "I do not 
know whether it is advisable to recommend, with Sir 
Lucius O'Trigger, in ^The Rivals,' that gentlemen 
should stand fair to the front in duelling, and be shot 
clean through one side of the body, instead of making 
as small as possible an edge by standing sideways, 
and running the risk of being certainly killed by the 
ball penetrating both sides ; but this I do know, that 
there is neither charity nor humanity in the manner of 
choosing the pistols at present adopted. The balls are 
so small that the holes they make are always a source 
of inconvenience in the cure, and the quantity of pow- 
der is also so small that it will not send a ball through 
a moderately thick gentleman; it therefore sticks in 
some place where it should not — to the extreme disad- 
vantage of the patient, and to the great annoyance of 
the surgeon. TJiese things should he altered with tlte 
present diffusion of knowledge.'^ 

Of course the combatant^s eyes must be fixed upon 
the object he intends to fire at ; and he must carefully 
single out, if possible, some small particle on it. " If 
aiming at a man, for instance, mark well one of the 

.•f • 


gi^t buttons upon his coat. A person can never fire 
^tli accuracy unless he aims at some small object. 
Were he to endeavour to hit a man he would very 
probably miss him ; but if he aimed at one of the but- 
tons of his coat the ball is almost certain — provided he 
is a passable shot — to strike within a circle of two or 
three inches round it.^' 

There is sound musketry in this. It is not a mere 
joke that men have been known to miss a hay-stack ; 
and all from this cause — aiming at the hay-stack in- 
stead of a particular point on it. 

The disuse of the once fashionable blue coat with 
gilt buttons deprives the duellist of one of his most 
important points in aiming ; but even when blue coats 
were in fashion, those who " went out ^^ were always 
recommended to wear a black coat. 

^'The arm being closed well in to the side, and 
the pistol raised to the proper level, bring the head 
straight, keeping the eyes turned as much to the 
right as possible, and the pistol directed steadily 
towards the small object that has been noticed. Be 
cool, collected, and firm, and think of nothing but 
placing the ball on the proper spot. When the word 
is given, pull the trigger carefully, and endeavour to 
avoid moving a muscle in the arm or hand, — move 
only the forefinger, and that with just suSicient force 
to discharge the pistol. 

'^ Should the party be hit, he must not feel alarmed,, 
or imagine himself more seriously wounded than is 


perhaps the case. I once knew a man grazed rather 
deeply on the ribs ; he fell as though dead^ and be- 
came quite insensible through fright. 

" Constant practice, of course, is necessary to enable 
an individual to receive an adversary's fire without 
flinching or feeling nervous. This, however, will in 
time, by giving him more confidence, enable him to 
overcome the dread of personal danger, and so nerve 
his mind that he will stand as much at ease before 
his opponent as if he were only a tree or a brick 

Byron has touched oflF the thing in one of his 
happiest veins : — 

" It has a strange quick jar upon the ear, 
That cocking of a pistol, when you know 
A moment more will bring the sight to bear 

Upon your person — twelve yards off or so — 
A gentlemanly distance, not too near, 

If you have got a former friend for foe ; 
But after being fired at once or twice, 
The ear becomes more Irish, and less nice." 

* Don Juan,* canto iv., 47. 

It was, therefore, important for intending duellists 
to accustom themselves to receive the discharge of 
their antagonists without feeling nervous or uneasy ; 
and one of them hit upon the following ingenious 
method of nerve-practice: — He had a wooden figure 
of a man constructed and placed in front of his target, 
or in some other position where the balls could do no 
injury should they miss it. A strong bracket was 


affixed to the shoulder with two leather straps at- 
tached, and so disposed that they could firmly secure 
a pistol in the position in which it would appear if 
held by an adversary. A small hole was bored in the 
fore part of the trigger-guard to admit a piece of 
copper wire, one end of which was wound round the 
trigger, and the other made fast to a piece of whip- 
cord about twelve yards long. To the other end of 
the whipcord a small hook was affixed, and the pistol 
being charged with a good charge of powder, rammed 
tight, the practitioner took his station, hooking the 
end of the whipcord on the waistband of his trousers. 
Drawing himself firmly into position, he raised his 
arm and fired, at the same moment receding slightly 
back and discharging the other pistol upon himself. 

At the " Tir de Gosset,^^ in Paris, there is fixed up 
the figure of a man, at which practitioners fire as 
against an adversary in a duel. 

The same authority states, that he knew persons 
who required some months' practice before they could 
overcome that nervous sensation produced by being 
fired at. Constant practice, however, will overcome it 
sooner or later, and it is absolutely necessary to con- 
quer the weakness. To be able to stand firm and 
unmoved while a pistol is discharged upon you, is 
quite as important as hitting the target cleverly. No 
man can imagine, until he makes the experiment, 
exactly what his feelings will be when stationed in 
front of his antagonist. However courageous, how- 


ever accustomed to face danger, still it it impossib^ ^ 
to avoid a slight degree of uneasiness, more partic*^" 
larly in a first affair. Even some of the best shotf^* 
were not much to be dreaded in the field, on accoui-^^ 
of their great nervous agitation. 

This disadvantage is distinct fi:om the mere trent — " 
bling of the hand owing to other causes than feai 
Many a man with a trembling hand can manage 
hit his mark to a nicety. Byron, for instance, was 
very good shot with the pistol in spite of this in 

To acquire the habit of firing briskly is of th^^^ 
greatest importance. I know a case in which, firo 
being too slow in obeying the word of command, 
principal got his forearm broken by the fire of his an- 
tagonist before he could pull the trigger. 

Over-anxiety to hit the mark may lead to a slow^ 
slovenly, and hesitating way of firing. 

To become a good shot with the pistol, the young" 
practitioner should pick oflF five or six dozen wafers 
in the manner before described, every morning before 
breakfast, and in about three months — ^if a clever 
fellow — he will become an fait. 

Until a man can " culp '^ twelve wafers, at fourteen 
yards, in six minutes, loading the pistols himself be- 
tween each discharge, he cannot be considered a pro- 
ficient in pistol practice. 

A man^s good practice, in the presence of spec- 
tators, in a shooting gallery, has been known to act 


8^ a '^ caution ^^ to those who thought of calling him 
out. An English nobleman told me that an Aus- 
trian noble was thus induced to decline sending him a 
challenge from witnessing his proficiency in a shoot- 
mg gallery. 

3. The chances of being hit or killed. 

Rather erroneous notions have prevailed respecting 
^le probabilities of the results of duelling. In Bng- 
^^nd, whenever it was reported that a man was about 
to fight a duel, people generally imagined that he 
^ust be killed; and nine men out of ten, upon re- 
ceiving a challenge, made their will, and got no 
^leep the night previous to their going out, that is, in 
England. Abroad they treat the matter more lightly, 
as duels occur there more frequently, and they know 
From experience that the risk of being killed is com- 
paratively trifling. 

'^ I remember once a friend,^^ says the authority I 
lave been quoting, " sending for me in great haste, 
md, on my arrival, I found him pacing his room in a 
itate of violent agitation. ^What has occurred, my 
lear fellow V said I. ^ Oh ! nothing, nothing ; but I 
im going out.' ^ Out, where V ' Where ? Look at 
hat letter on the table. I have accepted the chal- 
enge, and want your pistols. Oh ! my poor wife ! 
Ind the damned Equitable won't pay a rap of my 
nsurance. What a cursed fool I am ! ' ^ Psha ! 
)sha !' said I, for I perceived he was quite unnerved. 


^Listen to me, and compose yourself. You say yoiL 
are going out, true ; but that is no reason why yoiL 
should be shot ; only one man out of fourteen that go 
out receives the coup de coeur; therefore, you have 
considerable odds in your favour/ I reasoned with, 
him until his mind became much more composed ; but 
he was naturally a nervous subject, and I felt very- 
happy to see the affair adjusted in the morning with- 
out an exchange of shots/' 

The same writer found that upon the average o£" 
nearly two hundred duels, only one out of fourteen had^ 
been killed, and one out of six wounded. Thus, ac- 
cording to this estimate, the chances of a man's being' 
killed are fourteen to one, and of his being hit, about> 
six to one. There are many parts of the body through, 
which a ball may penetrate without the wound proving* 
mortal. In Stapleton's affair with Moore, for example, 
the ball passed within half an inch of the heart, yet he 
recovered. Recovery, however, in such cases depends 
much on the sufferer's habit of body and strength of 
constitution. Some have received shots through the 
lungs and spleen, and yet recovered. One, an officer 
in the Hanoverian service, was twice shot through the 
head, and although minus many of his teeth and part 
of his jaw, he survived and enjoyed good health. 

If the space of a man's body, when opposed to his 
adversary, be supposed to be divided into nine parts, 
in only three of them can a wound prove mortal; 
therefore, if a man is hit, the chances are three to one 


against his being killed, and five to one against his 
being hit; that is, however, provided his antagonist 
has not been trained and practised according to the 
improved method explained in these pages. It will be 
observed that the estimate diflRers materially from the 
J'esults deduced in this respect by Gilchrist, as before 
given; but if it be true that in all battles it has re- 
quired the expenditure of a man^s weight in lead or 
iron to kill or hit him, we have reason to believe 
that, excepting the case of crack shots, the chances 
of being hit or killed in a duel are comparatively 
trifling. Hence, the farce of duelling. 

On the other hand, it is not always the crack shot 
that does the execution. I have known a case in 
which a practised duellist happened to miss his anta- 
gonist, a mere youth ; who, however, shot him in the 
head, killing him on the spot ; and yet the fellow had 
killed some twenty men in duels. His hand had been 
against all men, and his name was, ominously, Cain. 

To sum up, — a good position is all-important in duel- 
ling, or, indeed, in all firing, and cannot be too 
strongly insisted on. The side only should be turned 
towards one^s antagonist; unless the combatants are 
city council or aldermen, and then perhaps the old 
method of fighting should be recommended, namely, 
turning the seat of honour to the adversary, and dis- 
charging the pistol over the shoulder. A shot in the 
digestive organs must be particularly annoying to a 
hon vivant. Standing thus, these organs would be se- 


curely protected, as only a weapon after the fasliion of 
the Armstrong or Whitworth ordnance could penetrate 
an alderman^s stomach from behind. 

Charles James Fox was remarkable for his portly 
figure and rotundity, and when in his duel with Mr. 
Adam, his second said, "Fox, you must stand side- 
ways,^^ he replied, " Why, man, I am as thick one way 
as the other/^ In such a case, of course, there is no 
help for it. 




[n the narratives of duels whicli are to follow in the 
30urse of this work specimens of the cartel or challenge 
will be given in connection with their results, and I 
wdll therefore content myself here with a few remarks 
Dn the general subject. 

The challenge, which is an invitation from one indi- 
vidual to another to settle a dispute by combat, has 
assumed various forms according to the temper and 
frame of mind of the sender. Some were pithy and 
laconic; others rather long and windy; some were 
exquisitely polite, and others just the reverse. 

A challenge was once given in rhyme, concluding 
with the two following forcible lines : — 

" Wounds of the flesh a surgeon's skill may heal, 
But wounded honour is only cured with steel." 


It was from a certain poetical brandy-loving Major- 
General of Marines, who considered himself wrongei 
by a brother oflBcer during his absence from England^ 
The Major had a wife, and his friend, people said, had 
been too partial to her. 

The following terrible challenge was sent to a bar- 
rister by a high-spirited young fellow, who considered 
himself grievously insulted during a cross-examination 
to which the barrister had treated him at a trial : — 

^^ Sir, — You are renowned for great activity with 
your tongue, and justly, as circumstances that have 
occurred to-day render evident. I am celebrated for 
my activity with another weapon, equally annoying 
and destructive; and if you would oblige me by ap- 
pointing a time and place, it would aflRord me the 
greatest gratification to give you a specimen of my 


" Your most obedient. 
^^ United Service Gluh/^ 

In earlier times it was the practice to send only a 
verbal challenge by some confidential friend, but lat- 
terly this method was quite discontinued. The ItaUans 
are very laconic in their mode of wording these epis- 
tles ; the following is a specimen : — 

^^ Sir, — If your courage is equal to your impudence, 
you will meet me to-night in the wood.^^ 

The warlike original is as follows : — 

" Signore, — S^il suo coraggio e grande come la sua 
impudenza, m'incontra questa sera nel bosco.^^ 


However, cartels of this description were considered 
very ungentlemanly ; and the most accredited mode 
was to conduct the whole affair with the greatest pos- 
sible politeness, expressing the challenge clearly, avoid- 
ing all strong language, simply stating, first, the cause 
of offence ; secondly, the reason why it was considered 
a duty to notice the matter ; thirdly, naming a friend ; 
and lastly, requesting the appointment of a time and 
place. If abroad, it was proper to state at the foot of 
the note the length of the challenger^ s sword-blade ; 
and a correct copy should be kept of all correspondence 
that took place. So much for the challenge. 

Upon arriving at the releager, or plaqe of meeting, 
the challenger should make a point of saluting his an- 
tagonist, — again, also, when taking up his position; 
and if his ball takes effect, a third salute, and an ex- 
pression of regret should always precede his quitting 
the ground. 

The selection of a second always required the greatest 
caution. Duels, that might easily have been prevented, 
have often taken place through inexperience, or want 
of feeling on the part of the second, which was shown 
by the following occurrence. A duel occurred between 
two parties in consequence of one — rather a violent 
tempered man by the bye — taking umbrage at some re- 
marks he overheard while in a coffee-house, which he 
imagined were aimed at himself, and accordingly re- 
sented by sending the supposed offender a challenge. 
A meeting took place; but the party to whom the 


challenge was sent, thinking it absurd to be forced 
into a mortal affray upon an utter misconstruction, at- 
tempted, through his friend, to give some explanation. 
The choleric challenger's second, however, would listen 
to nothing, saying, that ^^he and his principal cajne 
there to fight about talking, not to talk about fighting, 
and he begged no time might be lost, as he wanted 

A writer on the subject says, that ^' a man cannot 
be too careful in selecting the individual who is in- 
trusted with his cartel. He should run over the names 
of his friends, and endeavour to obtain the services of 
a staid, cool, calculating old fellow — ^if possible, one 
who has seen some few shots exchanged ; but I should 
advise his never choosing an Irishman on any account, 
as nine out of ten of those I have had the pleasure of 
forming an acquaintance with, both abroad and in this 
country, have such an innate love of fighting, that thay 
cannot bring an affair to an amicable adjustment.* An 

* This experienced writer takes care to add, however, a pru- 
dent protest against the supposition that he meant any ofiTence 
to the gallant sons of Erin : — 

" By this remark, I beg it will be understood I do not intend 
any reflection upon the Irish character ; on the contrary, many 
of my intimate associates are Irishmen, and I believe the op- 
pressed sons of Erin to be the most generous, open-hearted, and 
truly courageous people on the face of the globe. I could not, 
however, be otherwise than amused at the following account, in 
the * Times' newspaper, during the late French revolution: — 
* Two Irish gentlemen, travelling for pleasure, happened acci- 
dentally to arrive in the suburbs of Paris at the moment when 


instance occurred in my own experience, in which an 
Irish second was so exacting in the terms of a required 
apology, that nothing -but abject cowardice could ac- 
count for the acquiescence of the challenged party; 
and when, upon its beiug shown to the challenger, the 
latter pointed out that the word ^^ apology^' was mis- 
spelt, having two p^s, the Irishman insisted that he 
was right, high words ensued, and the principal had 
the greatest difficulty in appeasing his wrath, which 
well nigh rendered a meeting necessary. 

If a man is the challenger and aware that he is 
slightly in fault, he should inform his second of every 
particular, and never allow a feeling of obstinacy or 
pride to prevent his authorizing him to make any 
reasonable concession. 

We read of cases in which men, who were aware 
of having given just grounds for the meeting, refused 
to make any apology until after receiving their adver- 
sary's fire, when, discharging in the air, they owned 
themselves in fault. This they did merely from a 

the populace were encraged with the King's troops ; they dis- 
mounted, sent on their baggage to the hotel, and entered as 
warmly into the contest as if the cause had been one in which 
their private interests were deeply concerned.* 

"During the time of peace our Government may hold our 
union with Ireland in light estimation ; it would be otherwise if 
at war. Some of the highest ornaments of our army and navy 
are natives of the sister kingdom ; and old Erin can boast of 
having given birth to the greatest military genius that ever com- 
manded an army — the man who lived to be sixty-five, and erred 
only three times in judgment.'* 

VOL. I. H 


fear that it might be supposed they apologized through 
cowardice. Now, such conduct is both wrong and 
ungentlemanly. If a man is conscious that he is not 
a coward, he should never fear being thought so ; and 
he has always the power to prove the falsity of such 
an accusation. 

A man who accepts the office of second to a friend 
undertakes a most important charge. Unfortunately, 
few are aware of the great responsibility that devolves 
upon them, and from ignorance, inexperience, or 
want of presence of mind, often commit serious mis- 
takes. Until the experiment is made, it is not easy 
to imagine what are the feelings of a man who attends 
a dear friend on such an occasion ; it requires quite as 
much nerve to act the part of a second as of a prin- 
cipal, when the individual is one whom you highly 

^^ The first- duty of a second is to prevent, if possible, 
the ajffair coming to a serious issue, without compro- 
mising the honour of his friend. The various duties 
of a second must be sufficiently obvious from what has 
been already said, but, above all, he has to take care 
that the ground is well selected, for in choosing the 
ground two things are to be observed ; first, to avoid 
the sun in the face, and then, if possible, not to choose 
a spot with a hedge or wall, or some other dark object 
in the background, for this is a material assistance in 
firing, it being much easier to hit an object when 
there is something dark behind it than when nothing 


appears beyond but a long range of blue sky; for 
instance, should there be a thick hedge in the field 
where the duel takes place, the second should not 
place his principal between it and his antagonist, and 
he should be careful not to station him in a position 
where he is inconvenienced by the sun, — a caution, 
however, which was almost unnecessary to persons in 
this country, as we are so seldom favoured with its 
appearance in the morning/' 

"Among the many instances of misconduct in 
seconds,^' says a practised duellist, who had fought 
four duels and acted as second in twenty-five, " I shall 
mention a few. Two learned doctors, who had had a 
long paper war, met one evening in the pit of one of 
the Dublin theatres, where their resentments burst 
out, with reciprocal violence, between each act. Both 
were men of abilities, and extremely eloquent, and 
afforded, by these interludes, much entertainment to 
the audience, who clapped the victor of the moment 
in proportion to the impression he had made. My 
friend, who sat near me, had rather the advantage; 
but, on the curtain dropping, was called upon by his 
adversary to meet him at an early hour next morning, 
at the Four Mile stone on the North Road, and im- 
mediately withdrew. This seemed to stuu my friend 
a little, who had not before been concerned in an 
affair of honour of this nature. However, he deter- 
mined to fight, finding it could not be avoided, the 
other having publicly declared that he would post him 

H 2 

5a«»Q^^ ^ 


if he did not. In consequence of this^ lie requested 
me to be his second^ to which I consented^ in the hope 
of being able to reconcile the parties, and if not, at 
least to protect him from, any undue advantage that 
might be taken of him, he being an Englishman, su 
stranger, and quite a novice in the duelling art. I 
therefore brought him home with me, where I left 
him, and went, without his knowledge, to the house 
of his opponent, thinking, if I could see him, proceed- 
ings might be stayed ; but he had immediately set oflf*" 
to Drogheda, twenty-four miles distant, to procure «u 
friend, and of course there was no possibility of meet- 
ing till we came on the ground. I suspected the man- 
he went for, who was also hostile to my friend, and^ 
besides, had some experience in tactics of this kind,, 
and was in the capacity of both surgeon and seconds 
I therefore took my friend under training during th^- 
night, prepared the pistols, aired the powder, and^ 
gave him the aecessary cautions and instructions^ 
which should be accurately understood, both oflfen- 
sively and defensively, and which generally afford the* 
experienced duellist a decided advantage. 

'^ We got to the ground at six, the hour appointed, 
and shortly after the others arrived ; the second was 
the same I expected. After a distant salute I took 
him aside, and observed that it was rather unfor- 
tunate that we had not had an opportunity of talking 
the affair over before we came there ; but that, as it 
was not of a desperate nature, being a mere war of 


words, I conceived it might be as mucli to their 
honour to make a mutual apology as to fight, when he 
immediately vociferated that he would not consent 
that his friend should either give or take any apology, 
that they came there to fight, and that whilst a ball 
remained (pulling out a handful of ballets) or until 
one or the other fell, they would not quit the field. 
In this, however, his principal did not second him. 

" Whilst charging the pistols, our opponent's second 

addressed himself to my friend in these words : ' Sir, 

I am glad to meet you here ; I have an aSair to settle 

with you the moment this is over, if you survive my 

friend.' I immediately called his principal forward, 

and told him the unmanly and infamous declaration of 

his second, whom, as it seemed, he had brought there 

with the view either to intimidate or to assassinate 

my friend, but that, as I came there to protect him 

at all points, he must instantly take the ground with 

me, or immediately withdraw his declaration and 

apologize ; the latter, by the advice of his principal, 

who disapproved of his conduct, he preferred. 

^^ We then proceeded to measure the ground, which 
he proposed should be seven yards. In this, however, 
I overruled him, after much resistance, and placed 
them at twelve yards asunder. By agreement, they 
fired at the same moment, my friend's ball passing 
through the hat of his opponent, and his ball grazing 
the left jaw of my friend, and would certainly have 
broken both jaws had he not given a fiill front face. 


After the first fire, I interfered again, and having 
made an impression, reconciled them, much to the 
visible dissatisfaction of my opponent, who had put 
the second pistol into the hands of his friend, exclaim- 
ing, that the town would call it a shabby business if 
they did not proceed. They made, notwithstanding, 
mutual apologies, shook hands, and ever after lived on 
a friendly and intimate footing. 

'^ I am confident that there is not one case in fifty 
where discreet seconds might not settle the difference 
and reconcile the parties before they come to the 
field. The law that takes cognizance of the conduct 
of these sanguinary tools is of much importance to 
society. And here, I cannot help repeating with just 
indignation, from a review of numberless facts, that in 
the variety of instances that have occurred where life 
has been lost, several shots exchanged, and the most 
dangerous wounds received, four-fifths, at least, of 
these duels might have been prevented by a timely 
and judicious interference by qualified and well-dis- 
posed seconds .^^ 

' Unfortunately, these were not the only sins of omis- 
sion or commission at the door of the seconds. It 
has been known that by injudiciously overloading, the 
principal has been killed by his own pistol bursting — 
a part of the barrel having entered the temple ; and it 
has frequently happened, through the same cause, that 
the pistol-hand has been shattered to pieces. On one 
occasion, a principal shot his own second through the 


cheek, knocking in one of his double teeth — ^not by 
the ball, but by a part of the pistol-barrel, which was 
blown out near the muzzle. On another, a principal 
shot himself through his foot, at the instep, which 
nearly cost him his Kfe, but of course put an end to 
further proceedings at the moment ; his second had 
given him his pistol at full- cock, with a hair-trigger, 
which he held dangling at his side before the word 
was given, and in that position it went ojff. On an- 
other occasion, the second charged his friend^ s pistol 
so carelessly, that the ball and powder had fallen out 
before he presented, — when, but not till after re- 
ceiving the opposite fire, snapping and burning his 
priming (the matter being then accommodated), he 
discovered, on making several attempts to discharge 
his pistol in the air, that it was unloaded ! 

It jfrequently happened, also, that the flints were so 
badly adjusted, and so bad in themselves, through the 
ignorance or inattention of the seconds, and the pis- 
tols so much out of order, that the principal, who was 
subject to such remissness in his friend, often stood in 
a very awkward predicament. A pistol has been 
known to snap a dozen times before it went oflf, though 
the flint was often clipped. This was putting the man 
in serious apprehension of his life, eleven times oftener 
than he expected ! 

It was no unusual case that a pistol hung fire, 
owing to the dampness of the powder, or foulness of 
the touch-hole, by which the aim was always lost, and. 


of course, the fire, and, it might be, your life I The 
reader will, therefore, by this time, have already real- 
ized the full import of the words in ^ Hudibras -' — 

** Ay me ! what perils do environ 
The man that meddles with cold iron !*' 

The following naive advice was given by an expe- 
rienced hand to intending duellists : — 

^^ A man should not allow the idea of becoming a 
target to make him uneasy; but treating the mat- 
ter jocosely, he must summon up all his energy, and 
declare war against nervous apprehension. That his 
mind may not dwell upon the ajffair, he ought to invite 
a few friends to dinner, and laugh away the evening 
over a bottle of port, or, if fond of cards, play a rubber 
of whist. He should, however, carefully avoid drink- 
ing to excess, or taking any food that tends to create 
bile. The man who makes too free with the bottle 
over night seldom rises with a very steady hand in the 
morning; and many poor fellows have sujBTered through 
intemperance and want of care previous to fighting. 
If a man ^ leeches,^ that is, advances, boldly, and as a 
lion, it always checks the ardour of his antagonist; 
but if he crawls out like a poor ragamuiBBn going to be 
shot, it in some degree raises the courage of the op- 
posite party, and renders his aim, of course, more 
steady. Firmness and determination on these occa- 
sions depend much on the state of the nerves, which 
are always unstrung by intemperance. Bile has also 
a two-fold operation ; first, on the nerves ; and se- 


condly, on the sight ; when we are bilious, it is well 
tnown that objects are not seen either distinctly or 
correctly. Should he feel inclined to sleep when he 
! retires to rest, and troubled images disturb his imagi- 
nation, let him take some amusing book — one of Sir 
Walter's novels, if a lover of the romantic ; or Byron's 
' Childe Harold,' if he delights in the sublime ; and 
read until he drops asleep, leaving word with a trusty 
servant to call him at five, and provide a cup of strong 
coffee, to be taken immediately on rising, 

''Upon the previous day he should have been care- 
W to secure the services of his medical attendant, who 
^1 provide himself with all the necessary apparatus 
for tying up wounds or arteries, and extracting balls. 

''Let him drink the cojffee, and take a biscuit with 
^^i directly he rises ; then, in washing his face, attend 
I te bathing his eyes well with cold water. If in the 
kabit of wearing flannel next the skin, he should omit 
putting it on. Wounds, comparatively trifling, have 
Often become dangerous from parts of the flannel 
clothing being carried into them, particularly in warm 

^^ I do not advise his taking more than a biscuit and 
h cup of coSbe. To eat a hearty breakfast is wrong. 
I am not one of those who subscribe to the Italian 
opinion that nothing can be well done by an English- 
inan unless his stomach is full of roast beef. The di- 
gestive organs are seldom prepared for the reception 
of food at such an unnatural hour as six or seven ; and 


the brain would consequently be oppressed with the 
fumes proceeding from an unhealthy digestive pro- . 

" If he smokes, let him take a cigar ;* but if a mar- 
ried man, avoid disturbing his wife or children. With 
respect to the last point, a friend of mine told me the 
most affecting scene he ever witnessed was the part- 
ing between an old English noblemanf and his daugh- 
ter previous to a duel in which the father was a prin- 
cipal, and engaged in consequence of some disrespect- 
ful language used to her. It occurred near Paris. 
The old gentleman — with his eyes bathed in tears — 
tore himself from his child, and came into the field 
trembling, not with fear, but with nervous excitement. 
It is grievous to behold a man in this state under the 
necessity of handling a weapon. 

^^When the pistols were offered him he looked 
wildly round; his thoughts were all with his poor 
distressed child, who, unwilling to lose sight of her 
father, had followed him with one of her attendants, 

* With that " smoky sceptre in his fist," the immortal Ney 
charged the enemy. And a E-oman Catholic priest, condemned 
for his religion, went to the gallows " pipe in mouth." Indeed, 
a pipe or cigar must have been particularly useful to the duellist 
on the morning of his possible execution, for — 

" This is the opiate which the Turks must take 
When they their hearts would light and jocund make." 

t I think my friend, who was a foreigner, was mistaken about 
the individual being a nobleman. 


and stood weeping at a distance. The old man raised 
his arm as though it had been palsied, and fired, of 
course without effect. The other principal immedi- 
ately deloped,* much to the satisfaction of my friend 
and all present. 

"1 consider it the wisest plan for a principal to 
keep an affair of this nature concealed from every one 
except his surgeon, servant, and second, until it has 

^^ About six in the morning is the best time for 
meeting in the summer, seven in the spring and au- 
tumn, and eight in the winter. I have generally gone 
to the ground in a postchaise, and prefer it here to 
making use of my own conveyance, in case of molesta- 
tion by the honourable members of Bow Street, who 
nowf keep, what sailors term, ^ a very sharp look-out ' 
early in the morning in the suburbs of the metropolis. 

^^ He should observe that the pistol-case is furnished 
with caps and every other necessary, and see it put 
into the chaise himself. Instances have occurred more 
than once of the pistols being left behind in the con- 
fusion of starting, subjecting the parties, of course, to 
much inconvenience and ridicule. 

^^ While proceeding to the scene of action, if he 
feels himself nervous, or imagines that he is not suffi- 
ciently braced up to the encounter, he should stop and 
take a little soda-water, flavoured with a small wine- 

* Deloped, duelling term for " firing in the air." 
t Thirty years ago. 


glass of brandy. This will be found an excellent re- 
medy, and, from experience, I can strongly recommend 
it as a most grateful stimulant and corrective. 

^^ Arrived at the releager, — where it is always ad- 
visable to get a start of his adversary, — he should dis- 
mount and walk about, coolly puffing his cigar, leaving 
his second to forward the arrangements, and mark out 
the ground, observing himself, however, that all is cor- 
rectly done ; and when called upon to leech, he should 
step up quietly and firmly, as though he were going to 
shake hands with an old friend, instead of to shoot one. 

^^ Having taken his station, he should cast his eyes 
closely upon his adversary, and mark if there is any 
nervous tremalation in his movement, — as to observe 
it is encouraging, because, when a man trembles, his 
fire is seldom efiectual. He should also be very care- 
ful to remain himself as firm and stifi* as a statue — ^not 
a muscle in his face or movement of his body should 
portray any extraordinary degree of feeling or excite- 
ment. When he receives the pistols, let him fix the 
stock comfortably in his hand, and attend to all the 
rules I have given. 

^^ The seconds should now retire about eight yards 
from the line of fire, equidistant from the antagonists ; 
the two surgeons and any friend should be about two 
yards behind them, and the servants in a line rather 
further back. 

" This ought to be the position previous to the sig- 
nal for firing. I do not know any particular advantage 


arising from this mode of placing the parties, but' it 
looks better than to see a number of persons strag- 
gling round the principals, not unfrequently at the 
risk of their own lives — with hair-triggers in close 

'' The signal is a matter of some importance ; fre- 
quently there is none given, and the parties draw lots 
for firing. Formerly, the challenger had the privilege 
of firing first. The plan I prefer, as considering it 
most equitable, is to fire on a given signal, and I think 
none better than dropping a handkerchief; but even 
giving the word is sufficient. ^^* In most of the duels 
in England during the reign of George III., the ad- 
versaries tossed up for the first fire; and the same 
practice prevailed, and still prevails in France, unless 
the nature of the fire be altered by the peculiarity of 
the duel. 

^^ Instances have not unfrequently occurred where, 
through a misconception of the signal, one party has 
fired before the other. In these cases, the second 
party has undoubtedly a right to his fire. Few men, 
however, under such circumstances, would take it, but 
rather waive the right, if convinced that the error had 
arisen through mistake. 

'^ I once witnessed a case of this kind. One party 
fired before signal — the other waived his right to fire ; 

* All words of command at the moment of firing tend to 
shake the nerves ; and no doubt the word of command, which 
was most usual, caused the numerous misses of dueUists. — A. S. 


ttey re-loaded, — raised at the same moment, — ^but the 
individual who had previously fired did not discharge 
his pistol, although he raised it apparently with the 
intention of doing so. A little care in giving the 
signal, which should be well explained to both prin- 
cipals, will preclude the possibility of such an occur- 

"It requires some nerve to elevate the hand and 
keep the pistol perfectly steady, when the muzzle of 
an adversary's weapon is directed upon you, and when 
aware that a very few moments will bring its contents 
much closer than is agreeable; but the period most 
trying to a duellist is from the time the word ' ready' 
is given until the handkerchief drops. 

^^ 'Tis an awful moment, certainly. He must not, 
however, allow it to operate on his mind ; indeed, he 
should endeavour to banish every thought, except the 
thought of hitting his adversary cleverly. Standing 
up firmly, he should throw out his muscles, cover his 
right breast well with his right arm, keep his left close 
to his side, his stomach drawn in, his head inclined 
towards his adversary, and his eyes fixed on a button 
or some other small part of his opponent's dress, as 
near the centre of the breast as possible. 

"Standing thus, he should give the word to the 
second, ^ All's Ready.' 

"On the reply of the second, ^ All's Ready,' he should 
turn his eyes slightly towards the left, and pull the 
trigger as the handkerchief falls. 


«ff, upon the discharge, his adversary's ball has 
taken effect, he must not be alarmed or confused, but 
quietly submit the part to the examination of his sur- 
geon, who should close round hira, with his second, 
the moment the discharge has taken place. 

"I cannot impress upon an individual too strongly 
the propriety of remaining perfectly calm and collected 
when hit ; he must not allow himself to be alarmed or 
confused ; but, summoning up all his resolution, treat 
the matter coolly ; and if he dies, go off with as good 
a grace as possible/' 

In the duel between Stackpole and Cecil, — two of 
the first shots in the kingdom, — the former was mor- 
tally wounded. He died almost immediately, and only 
remarked, while falling, — alluding to his antagonist, — 
"By George, Fve missed him !''.... 

If sm'geons are on the ground, they should turn 
their backs to the combatants, so as not to see the 
firing ; but as soon as they hear the report they should 
turn, and run to the spot as speedily as possible. 






Although many a duel has been unfairly fought on 
one side or the other, the institution itself has all 
along been regulated by a code of honour, the restric- 
tions of which have always been held binding by all 
right-thinking, honourable men; and I shall repro- 
duce in the present chapter the leading points of this 
Common Law of the Duello, as a necessary introduc- 
tion to the narratives which are to follow, although 
much of it is very absurd. 

This elabrate Code of Duelling was published in the 
year 1836, by Chateauvillard, and was quoted entire 
by Millingen in his ' History of Duelling/ * 

* An interesting article on this Code du Duel appeared last 
May in * Chambers's Journal,' and one in 'All the Year Ilound,' 
April 18, 1863, both of which have been useful to me in writing 
this chapter. 




1. Duels with the Pistol, 
Instances have frequently occurred where one or 
both parties, when on the point of firing, have taken a 
dead aim at each other, and presented as though prac- 
tising before a target. This has occurred sometimes 
wilfiilly, at others from the individuals being ignorant 
tliat it was unfair. It was the duty of the seconds in- 
stantly to step up and insist upon a change of position. 
If a pistol misses fire, the party loses the shot : he 
cannot, under any circumstances, be permitted to fire 

Sometimes a man is placed in a situation when he 
considers it his duty to " delope,^^ or fire in the air. 
This is quite proper in every way ; but if such be his 
intention, he should be cautioned to keep it carefully 
concealed until his antagonist has discharged, and to 
raise his pistol with the same nerve and accuracy as 
if he intended to fiLre; because, when a principal is 
aware that the opposite party does not intend to fire at 
him, his aim is likely to be much more accurate, and 
his arm more steady, than while he expects the re- 

If any dispute arises while on the ground respecting 
the position, or other circumstances, the principals 
should not leave the spot on which they are stationed, 
but remaining, have the pistols handed to them. A 
second discharge cannot take place without the con- 
sent of all parties ; and either of the principals has the 
privilege of refusing to fire more than once. 

VOL. I. I 


Upon a delope the affair immediately terminates, 
and the seconds should never permit another dis- 
charge. When a man fires in the air, it is considered 
an acknowledgment that he has been in fault; and 
although he may still refuse to make an apology, the 
opposite party has no right to demand another fire: 
he has " given satisfaction/^ Some years ago a duel 
took place in England, in which the parties met in the 
evening, when nearly dusk ; they fired without effect 
— one deloping. Another discharge was insisted upon 
by the individual who had marked his antagonist, and 
was improperly permitted by the seconds. The man 
who had deloped fell, mortally wounded, exclaiming 
^^ Oh ! my God ! there was no occasion for this I" and 

A pace in duelling is about three feet, and duels are 
generally fought at ten, twelve, and fourteen paces. 
If a man has a good shot for his opponent, and is but 
an indifferent shot himself, it is decidedly to his ad- 
vantage to fight at the shortest distance; if a good 
shot, and opposed to an inferior, he should then 
choose the longest distance. 

Among the French, fifteen paces is the nearest dis- 
tance, and it may be thirty-five paces; in the latter 
case the offended party has a right to the first fire ; if 
only fifteen paces are marked, the first fire is decided 
by drawing lots. 

The seconds have a right to ascertain that the prin- 
cipals do not carry any defence about their person ; a 


refusal to submit to this examination is considered a 
refusal to fight. The French not only give the word 
" Make ready/^ but also the word " Fiee/^ 

A flash in the pan is always considered a shot, un- 
less a stipulation to the contrary has been made. 

If one party is wounded he may fire upon his anta- 
gonist, but not after the expiry of two minutes. 

In a pistol duel termed a volonte — "at wilP^ — ^the 
seconds mark out the ground, at a distance of thirty- 
five to forty paces ; two lines are then traced between 
these two distances, leaving an interval of from twenty 
to fifteen paces. Thus each combatant can advance 
ten paces. The ground being taken, one of the se- 
conds, drawn by lot, gives the word " March .^' The 
combatants then advance upon each other, if they 
think proper, holding their pistols vertically while ad- 
vancing; but they may level the weapons and take 
aim on halting, although they may not fire at the 
time, but continue to march on to the line of separa- 
tion marked with a cane or handkerchief, where they 
must stop and fire. But although one of the parties 
may thus advance to the limits, his antagonist is not 
obliged to move on, whether he has received the fire 
of his opponent or reserved his own. The moment 
one of the combatants has fired, he must halt upon the 
spot, and stand firmly to receive the fire of his adver- 
sary, who is not, however, allowed more than one 
minute to advance and fire, or to fire from the ground 
he stands on. When one of the parties is wounded 



the affair must be considered ended, even though the 
wounded party should express his wish to proceed — 
unless the seconds consider him in a fit state to con- 
tinue the combat. 

Obviously, the moment a man has fired he must re- 
main a prey to the most uncomfortable feelings, whilst 
his adversary adjusts his aim and covers him. On 
this account, in Ireland, there has always been a rea- 
sonable prejudice in favour of receiving the adver- 
sary's fire,— the apparent risk being more than coun- 
terbalanced by the enormous advantage of a quiet aim, 
without the disturbing influence of a hostile barrel, 
which must naturally confuse and agitate. 

In the pistol duel termed a marche interrom/puey the 
combatants advance fifteen paces from the same dis- 
tance (forty-five or fifty paces) in a zigzag step, not 
exceeding two paces. They may take aim without 
firing, and while advancing stop when they choose, 
and advance again ; but having once fired, both par- 
ties must halt on the spot. The combatant who has 
not fired may now fire, but without advancing; and 
the party who has fired must firmly stand the fire of 
his opponent, who for that purpose is allowed half a 
minute : if he allows a longer time to elapse, he must 
be disarmed by the seconds. 

This kind of duel appears at first sight to differ 
little from the one last described ; but there are grave 
and important points of distinction. Out of these 
various shapes of encounter the skilful amateur will 


find his advantage according to his experience, and 
the peculiar manner he will have acquired during that 
experience. There are the same lines and the same 
distances marked ofi". But the parties advance in a 
zigzag direction — halting and advancing like Indian 
skirmishers — with power to fire the moment either 
halts. This is the grand distinction — ^not one of form, 
it will be observed, but of principle, and much to be 
recommended to novices, who might naturally be agi- 
tated by their debut. They will thus secure an early 
shot with a freedom from disturbing infiuences. There 
is, of course, always the drawback of having to accept 
the adversary's fire without sign or protest. It should 
be mentioned, that as soon as one has fired, the other 
is not allowed to advance further, but must discharge 
his pistol from the point at which he is standing. 

In the duel called a ligne paralleley the combatants 
are placed in this manner : — 



The parallel lines, at a distance of fifteen paces, are in 
length from twenty-five to thirty- five paces. In the 
present case the seconds divide into two parties, one 
being stationed behind each man, so, however, as to 
be covered from fire. On the usual signal '^ March'' 
being given, the combatants do not walk towards one ' 
another directly, but each progresses on his own line. 
Neither is bound to stir, however. Supposing A to 
have fired from a point midway on his line, B, whom 


we will suppose to have escaped injury, is by rule al- 
lowed half a minute to advance and fire : he may thus 
walk along his line till he is brought opposite to A, hi 
a distance, of course, of fifteen paces, A being bound to 
remain quite stationary after discharging his shot. 

There is also the duel a marche non interrompue et a 
ligne parallele — a rather cumbersome title for a very 
simple mode of arrangement. The inevitable parallel 
lines are traced at about fifteen paces^ distance (though 
it seems a little mysterious how those marks can be 
^^ traced^^ along the greensward of the Bois de Bou- 
logne), and the parties are started from points exactly 
opposite each other, as before described. They can 
walk either fast or slow, and can fire when they please ; 
but are not allowed to stop, or to reserve their fire a 
second after reaching the end of the march. This sys- 
tem, however, is not open to the objection of being too 
favourable to the person who receives the first fire and 
reserves his own, for he is compelled to be en route, or 
'' on the move,^^ while taking his aim, and is limited 
by time and the short distance he has to walk. 

Then there is the duel au signal, which is an ap- 
proach to the old Hiberno-Britannic fashion, and was 
doubtless intended to conciliate national prejudice. 
The signal is to be given by three claps of the hand, 
with an interval of three seconds between each. At 
the first, the parties move slowly towards each other; 
at the second they level, still walking; at the third, 
they halt and fire. K one fires before or after the sig- 


nal, by so much as half a second, he shall be considered 
a dishonourable man ; and if by the disgraceful ma- 
noeuvre he shall have killed his adversary, he is looked 
upon as an assassin. To minds less nice there would 
appear but little distinction between the cases. But if 
the adversary who has been fired at thus dishonourably 
las been lucky enough to escape, he is allowed a terri- 
ble retribution — namely, to take a slow, deliberate aim, 
and a shot at leisure. Where one disgracefully reserves 
liis fire after the signal, the very disagreeable duty is 
allotted to the seconds of rushing in at all risks and 
peril, even in front of the weapon, if no other course 
wUl answer, and disarming him. 

Then follows the duel a Barriere, which is, strictly 
speaking, a generic term, and applicable to any shape 
of combat where a line of separation between the par- 
ties is enforced. Sometimes the term is applied to an 
arrangement, by which the parties are set back to 
back, and at a given signal must march away ten, or 
any special number of paces, then turn round smartly 
and fire. This is, perhaps, the most humane sort of 
duel, as there are many chances that the parties will 
miss each other. But your Englishman, who has gra- 
duated on the bogs and moors, will have a fatal ad- 
vantage in this flurried style of shooting. On the other 
hand, however, allowance must be made for a profitable 
experience of our neighbours among the robins and 
sparrows, a good range of practice among those tiny 
warblers of the grove and bushes contributing to steady 
the eye and hand very considerably. 


We now come to what, in the gory annals of French 
duelling, are termed '' exceptional duels/^ — ^the fashion 
of turning two adversaries into a dark room, armed 
each with a pair of pistols ; then, that Mexican practice 
of an encounter on horseback, armed with weapons of 
every kind. The first is a worthy reproduction and 
representative of gladiatorial days, and the most savage 
atrocities of the Roman emperors ; and there is some- 
thing horrible in the notion of the two caged men 
creeping round by the wall, with finger on the trigger, 
scarcely daring to breathe for fear of giving their 
enemy a hint of their position. There was opportu- 
nity, also, for all manner of artful devices to make an 
enemy deliver his fire first, the light from which would 
illuminate his figure, and render him a favourable tar- 
get. But these shapes of action the French code looks 
on as exceptional and irregular, refusing to take any 
notice of them, or apply its ordinances to their case. 
It throws out only one contemptuous hint in reference 
to them, namely, that all stipulations and arrangements 
must be put in writing. 

The terrible duel a Voutrancey where so desperate is 
the character of the oSence, it is agreed that one of the 
parties shall die on the ground, is contrived by loading 
one pistol only. The other is merely primed, and the 
second, holding them behind his back, the parties 
choose, by saying, " To the right,'' or " To the left.'' 
Then the end of a pocket-handkerchief is placed in 
each of their hands, and the fatal signal is given. K 



the holder of the pistol pulls the trigger before the sig- 
nal, he is justly dealt with as an assassin, in the case 
of his having the loaded weapon. In case of its prov- 
ing the empty one, the opponent has the privilege of 
putting the muzzle to his head and shooting him on 
the spot. But these extravagances — outpourings of an 
indecent and ungentlemanly animosity — receive but 
little toleration, and the genteel code, as before stated, 
takes no cognizance of its incidents. Of the dramatic 
elements involved in a " situation ^^ of this sort, that 
skilful dramatist, Alexandre Dumas, was not slow to 
avail himself; he has worked this stratum up accord- 
ing to true " Saint-Martin^s-Gate^' traditions, in his 
melodrama of Pauline, the English version of which, 
111 the hands of Charles Kean, horrified and gratified 
the fashionable audiences of the Princesses. 

2. Duels with the Sword. 

In duels with the sword, the seconds mark the stand- 
ing spot of each combatant, leaving a distance of two 
feet between the points of their weapons. The stand- 
ing ground is drawn for by lots. The swords are 
measured to ascertain that they are of equal length, 
and in no case must a sword with a sharp edge or a 
notch be allowed. The combatants are requested to 
throw off their coats and to lay bare their breasts, to 
show that they do not wear any defence or cuirass that 
could ward off a thrust. A refusal to submit to this 
proposal is to be considered a refusal to fight. If, on 



comparing weapons, the swords are found to diflPer, the 
choice must be decided by chance, unless the dispro- 
portion is of a material nature. The hand may be 
wrapped in a handkerchief, but an end of it is not al- 
lowed to hang down, lest the point of the opponent's 
sword might catch in it, and so entrap him. At the 
word Allez, "commence,^' they set to, the seconds 
holding a swotd or a cane, with the point downwards, 
and standing close to each combatant, and prepared to 
stop the fight the moment the rules agreed upon are 
transgressed. Unless previously stipulated, neither of 
the combatants is allowed to turn off the sword of his 
opponent with the left hand ; should a combatant per- 
sist in thus using his left hand, the seconds of his ad- 
versary may insist that the hand shall be tied behind his 
back. Of course the combatants are allowed to stoop, 
to rise, to vault to the right or to the left, and turn 
round each other, as practised in the fencing lessons 
and depicted in the various treatises on the art. When 
one of the parties exclaims that he is wounded, or a 
wound is perceived by his second, the combat is stopped; 
but with the consent of the wounded man it may be 
renewed. If the wounded man, although the combat 
is ordered to be stopped, continues to press upon his 
opponent, this act is equivalent to his express desire 
to continue the conflict ; but he must be stopped and 
reprimanded. If, in the same circumstances, the com- 
batant that is not wounded continues to press on his 
antagonist, although ordered to stop by the seconds, 


he must be immediately checked by them, and consi- 
dered to have infringed the rules. The signal to stop 
is given by one second raising his sword or cane, when 
the other second cries out " stop/^ and then the com- 
batants recede one step, still remaining in guard. 

3. Duels with Sahres. 

In these duels the short sabre is preferred by the 
seconds, its wounds being less fatal than those of the 
long. The combatants are posted at the distance of 
one foot from the sabre-points. In general, these duels 
are fought with cuff- gloves, but otherwise the parties 
may wrap a handkerchief round their hand and wrist, 
provided that no end is allowed to hang down. Of 
course the same precautionary steps are taken to as- 
certain, as in a sword duel, that no defence is worn by 
either party. At the word Allez, the combatants ad- 
vance on each other, and either give point or cut, 
vaulting, advancing or retreating at pleasure. To strike 
an opponent when disarmed, to seize his arm, his body, 
or his weapon, is a foul proceeding. A combatant is 
disarmed when his sabre is either wrenched from him 
or dropped. 

Duels with the sabre may be stipulated to take place 
without giving point, when blunt sabres are used. In 
this case, to give point and kill an opponent is consi- 
dered an assassination. These duels are always con- 
sidered ended on the first loss of blood. 

When soldiers fight, the maitre d'armes, or fencing- 



master of the regiment, stands by, ready to pany any 
very ugly cut or thrust, as the form of the duel may be, 
and otherwise to see that everything is done properly 
according to the regulations. A disabling wo\m.d in a 
duel, with permission of his Colonel, is considered 
equivalent to a wound in battle, and entitled to a like 

It is evident from all these details that the fancy of 
duellists must have run mad in devising such a multi- 
plicity of methods of fighting, — ^many of them calcu- 
lated to place a man in an extremely ridiculous situa- 
tion, veritably making the affair a monstrous tragi- 

Such, however, were the various modes of duelling 
sanctioned for the vindication of injured honour, and 
we have now to inquire into the nature of the offences 
entailing such tremendous retribution. According to 
the French code of honour there are three sorts of 
offences : — (1) A simple offence; (2) an offence of an 
insulting nature ; and (3) an offence with personal 
violence. With regard to the first, if in the course of 
a discussion an offence is offered, the person who has 
been offended is the injured party. If this injury is 
followed by a blow, of course the party struck is the 
injured one. To return one blow with another of a 
more serious nature — severely wounding, for instance, 
after a slap in the face — does not constitute the person 
who received the second blow, however severe it may 
be, the party originally insulted. If in the course of a 


discussion, during which the rules of politeness have 
not been transgressed, but in consequence of which 
expressions have been used which induce one of the 
party to consider himself offended, the man who de- 
mands satisfaction cannot be considered the aggressor, 
or the person who gives it the offender ; the case must 
be submitted to the trial of chance. But if a man 
sends a message without a sufficient cause, he becomes 
the aggressor ; and the seconds, before they allow a 
meeting to take place, must insist upon a sufficient 
reason being manifestly shown. All these are insisted 
on because the selection of the weapons and the kind 
of duel rests with the offended party. A son may 
espouse the cause of his father if he is too aged to 
resent an insult, or if the age of the aggressor is 
of great disparity ; but the son cannot espouse the 
quarrel of his father if he has been the aggressor. As 
Dr. Millingen observes, this is a very judicious rule. 
Some of your old men are particularly crusty and 
inconsiderate, and if this rule were not enforced any 
old gentleman might grievously offend another, screen- 
ing himself by his age and infirmities, and sending 
some vigorous, active, and practised " big boy " to do 
the brave for him. Consequently he should be made 
personally responsible for his conduct, and obliged to 
make a most humble apology, if he cannot give per- 
sonal satisfaction. Besides, the rule prevents the 
sacrifice of life to which filial affection might expose a 
generous youth, who in his conscience may condemn 
his father's conduct. 



If the offence lias been attended by acts of violence, 
the offended party has the right to name, not only his 
duel, his arms, the distance, but may also insist upon 
the aggressor not using his own arms, to which he 
may have become accustomed by practice ; but in this 
case the offended party must also use weapons with 
which he has not practised. 

Honour can never be compromised by- the offending 
party admitting that he was in the wrong. If the 
apology of the offending party is deemed sufficient by 
the seconds of the offended, if the seconds express 
their satisfaction and are ready to affirm this opinion 
in writing, or if the offender has tendered a written 
apology considered of a satisfactory nature, — ^in such a 
case the party that offers to apologize ceases to be the 
offender, and if his adversary persists the arms must 
be decided by lot. 

However, no apology can he received after a bhw. 
Such an offence has often led to a mortal combat. 

If the seconds of the offending party come to the 
ground with an apology instead of bringing forward 
their principal, it is only to them that blame can be 
attached, as the honour of their principal was placed 
in their hands. 

No challenge can be sent by collective parties. If 
any body or society of men have received an insult, 
they can only send an individual belonging to it to 
demand satisfaction. A message collectively sent 
may be refused, but the challenged party may select 


an antagonist from the collection^ or leave the nomina- 
tion to chance. 

All duels should take place during the forty-eight 
tours that succeed the offence unless it is otherwise 
stipulated by the seconds. As Dr. Millingen remarks, 
this rule is of importance ; forty-eight hours may be 
considered a fair time to reflect upon the painful neces- 
sity of a hostile meeting, and there is in general reason 
to suppose that a challenge sent long after a provoca- 
tion has been the result of the interference of husy 

It is the duty of the seconds to decide upon the ne- 
cessity of the duel and to state their opinions to their 
principals. After having consulted with them in such 
a manner as not to allow any chance of avoiding a duel 
to escape, they must again meet, and exert their 
best endeavours to settle the business amicably. 

The seconds of a young man shall not allow him to 
fight an adversary above sixty years of age, unless this 
adversary had struck him, and in this case his chal- 
lenge must be accepted in writing. His refusal to 
comply with this rule is tantamount to giving satisfac- 
tion, and the young man^s honour is thereby satis- 

If any unfair occurrence takes place in a duel, it is 
the duty of the seconds to commit the circumstance to 
paper, and follow it up before the competent tribunals, 
when they are bound to give evidence. 

Such are the chief rules and regulations of the 


French code of honour. These new pandects were 
authorized and signed by eleven peers, twenty-five 
general officers, and fifty superior officers. Nearly all 
the maires and prefets gave in their adhesion, and 
even the minister of war, being restrained by a par- 
donable delicacy and the awkwardness of official posi- 
tion from attaching his signature, took the trouble of 
writing a formal letter, signifying his approval of the 
entire arrangements. 

Many of the regulations, however, are transparently 
borrowed from the Irish constitutions before mentioned. 
The important axiom of a blow admitting of no verbal 
apology whatever, and the almost casuistical theories 
as to what constitutes " ihe insulted party,^^ are com- 
mon to both. 

Strange as may appear such exalted sanction ac- 
corded by the leading men of France to the practice 
of duelling, we must not forget the very wise remark 
of Bentham : — " If the legislator had always appUed 
a proper system of satisfaction for offences, there 
would have been no duelling, which has been, and is 
still, but a supplement to the insufficiency of the 

*^I remarked," says Tom Moore, in his diary, *^that 
one of the worst things, perhaps, that O^ConneU had 
done for Ireland, was his removing, by his example, 
that restraint which the responsibility of one man to 
another, under the law of duelling, imposed, and 
which, in a country so little advanced in civilization as 


Ireland, was absolutely necessaty. We see, accord- 
ingly, that the tone of society there is every day 
growing lower and lower, and men bear blackguard- 
ing from each other in a way that, to an Irishman of 
the old school, or to real gentlemen of any school, 
seems inconceivable. In all this they both agreed 
with me, and said that to the existence of the Code 
of Honour introduced by duelling, we owed very 
much the great difference between the modems and 
the ancients in the good-breeding and decorum of 
manners in social Hfe. What personal abuse, for 
instance, what blackguarding (as it would now be 
deemed) Cicero indulged in towards his adver- 
saries !^^* 

So he did, and it was borne or rebutted ; great and 
valiant antiquity knew nothing about duelling. Its 
single combats were mere episodes of war. David and 
Goliath continued the battle between the Jews and the 
Philistines; Achilles in a stand-up fight with Hector and 
Paris was always Greece struggling with Troy. Tumus 
and -^neas, Eteocles and Polynices, struggled, the 
former for the hand of Lavinia, the latter for the 
throne of Thebes, with an army behind them. In like 
manner, Pittacus and Phrynon, the Horatii and Cu- 
riatii, Manlius Torquatus, Valerius Corvus, Claudius 
Marcellus, and the chieftains of Gaul, Scipio Africanus 
and the Spanish giant, — all of them were engaged in a 
national quarrel; there was no duelling. None of 

* Memoirs. 

VOL. I. K 



these encounters had the slightest resemblance to 
duelling. They managed the thing as well as they 
could, anyhow, if not by brute strength or dexterity, 
at any rate by trick and ruse, or cunning. Pittacus 
flung a net, which he had concealed under his shield, 
over the head of his opponent and gained an easy 
victory. Assuredly, Goliath never could have ima- 
gined that he was to be knocked down with a beg- 
garly pebble. Yet Pittacus was one of the Seven 
Sages of Greece, and David was a warrior, a fighting 
brave of incomparable pluck and daring. The fact is, 
all they cared for in those days was to get the upper 
hand. Defeat was the only disgrace and dishonour 
they dreaded. 

Moreover, with your mighty men of old it was a 
matter of indifference whether they accepted or re- 
fused a challenge. Antigonus challenged by Pyrrhus, 
Metellus by Sertorius, Julius Caesar by Mark Antony, 
merely replied, ^' I am not tired of life.^^ 

Popedius Silo challenged Marius, saying, ^^If you 
are so great a captain as they say you are, come out of 
your camp and fight me." 

" Nay, my dear fellow," replied the mighty Roman, 
;^^if you are a great captain, just force me to come 
out and fight whether I will or not." 

What did the grand Achilles when they ran off with 
his beautiful captive Briseis ? Why, he pouted in his 
tent ! 

And the valiant Ajax, worsted in the council of the 



army by the astute Ulysses, actually vented his wrath 
upon a flock of innocent sheep, which he pursued 
sword in hand, and finished with committing suicide ! 

When Themistocles, in an altercation with Eury- 
biades, got his eye knocked out by a blow with a 
stick, he contented himself with saying, " Strike, if 
you like, but do Usten to me V 

Eoman history is fiill of similar examples, proving 
that in all antiquity they had no notion whatever of 
the point of honour. The barbarians ! Only think of 
the outrageous accusations heaped upon Caesar by the 
acetic Cato, without a thought of being ^^ called out" 
for his insolence. And when the same Cato was 
sorely lashed by Cicero in the Senate, with his en- 
venomed tongue, he contented himself with exclaim- 
ing : — " Well, gentlemen, heroes a very facetious 
consul V^ 

No doubt Antony avenged the Philippics of Cicero 
against him, but it was not sword in hand, but with 
the poignard of assassins. 

The son of Cicero, at a banquet, flung a cup or a 

dish at the head of Agrippa, the favourite of Augustus 

and the real conqueror at the battle of Actium ; but 

the only result of the outrage was that fine ode of 

Horace, immortalizing the brutal deed : — 

** Natis in usum Isetitise scaphis 
Pugnare Thracum est." 

" To fight with cups, for jovial uses made, 

Is barbarous." 

Hor. Od. I. xxvii. 

K 2 


Certainly the ancients had their prize-fighters^ their 
^'ring^^ boxers, wrestlers, athletes, who knocked 
each other about in the most approved fashion ; but 
when Alexander the Great observed at Miletus a 
number of statues raised to crowned wrestlers, he 
exclaimed : — " Where on earth were these men when 
the Persians besieged their town V^ 

No doubt many will apply this sarcasm to duellists ; 
and, indeed. Napoleon professed the greatest contempt 
for duellists, as untrustworthy in the battles of armies, 
as did old Montaigne long before ; but, unfortunately 
for all that sort of denunciation, the greatest dueUists 
in modern times — the most numerous and determined 
— have been produced by the nations which have 
carried all before them in war, the English, the 
French, and now in this latter day, the Germans, as of 





Although the single combats of the age of chivaby do 
not form part of the design of this work, it may be 
proper, for the sake of contrast, to quote a specimen, 
and I know of none more appropriate than the trial 
by combat, as related by Brantome, between 

The Chevalier Gontran and Count Ingelgee, 

(a.d. 880.) 

In the reign of Louis le Begue, the wife of Ingelger, 
Count of Gastonois, was accused of having murdered 
her husband, his corpse having been found with her in 
bed. Gontran, a relation of the deceased, and the 
most expert swordsman of his time, was her accuser. 
The king appointed a day for the trial by combat, at 
the castle of Landon. 

Ingelger, Count of Anjou, and godson of the accused 
countess, at that time not sixteen years of age, threw 



himself at the king's feet, and solicited the royal per- 
mission to accept Gontran's challenge to the trial by 
combat. The king, equally affected by his courageous 
request and extreme youth, made use of many argu- 
ments to dissuade him from such a dangerous attempt 
as that of encountering the redoubtable Gontran, 
whose very name struck terror into the bravest ears, 
and addressed him to the following effect : — 

" Consider, my child, that youth and a want of suf- 
ficient reflection often precipitate people rashly to 
undertake enterprises of such arduous moment that 
they are forced to shrink under them, and yield in- 
gloriously. Think, therefore, in time, — ^be persuaded 
of the great inequality of a trial by combat between 
one of your tender years and so renowned a hero for 
acts of chivalry as the long-experienced Gontran. 
Reflect that such a combat can promise no other event 
than the devoting yourself to death by your first essay 
in arms. Wherefore, my dear child, I entreat you 
seriously to meditate this affair, and the fatal conse- 
quences which, in all probabiUty, must ensue.'' 

The young count, with a becoming mixture of 
modesty and valour, thanked the king for his royal 
and paternal concern, but inflexibly persisted in his 
resolution. All the courtiers pitied him, and nothing 
was heard from every mouth but this general lamen- 
tation — " What a pity so amiable a youth should thus 
rush on certain destruction." 

The next day was appointed for the trial. The 


count took leave of his godmother, heard mass, dis- 
tributed alms, made the sign of the cross, and, mount- 
ing his horse, entered the lists, — the wonder and admi- 
ration of all the spectators. 

The Countess of Gastonois and Gontran, having 
both affirmed on oath the truth of all the articles they 
had severally alleged, the combatants — the young 
Ingelger and the veteran Gontran — rushed furiously 
upon each other. The latter made a violent thrust at 
the count^s shield, which the youth parrying, drove his 
lance through Gontran^s body, felled him from his 
horse, and alighting, cut off his head, which bleeding 
trophy he presented to the king. The vindicated 
countess, in return for the young champion^s successful 
prowess, made him a present of the manorship of 
Landon, together with the castle and estates. 

Duel between a Man and a Dog. 

(a.d. 1400.) 

At the close of the thirteenth century, Philip the 
Fair, having justly entertained at that early period a 
refined sense of the evil attending the judicial combat, 
used his best means to put a restraint on its practice. 
But the state of the times militated so much against 
his good intention that all he was able to effect was 
the publication of an edict of regulation, whereby 
nothing was to be brought to that bloody issue which 
could be determined by any other means. In conse- 
quence of this was adopted that singular ordeal, for 


want of other evidence, whicli took place in the Isle of 
Notre Dame, in the reign of Charles V. of France. 

The Chevalier Maquer, in the sight of all Paris, 
entered the lists, with a dog, in mortal combat. The 
spot which was the scene of this singular encounter 
is still shown. The following are the circumstances 
that gave rise to it. Aubry Mondidier, whilst taking 
a solitary walk in the neighbourhood of Paris, was 
murdered and buried under a tree. His dog, which 
he had left at home, went out at night to search for 
his master, whom at length he traced to the forest, 
and discovered his grave. Having remained some 
days on the spot, till hunger compelled him to return 
to the city, he hastened to the Chevalier Ardilliers, a 
friend of the deceased, and by his melancholy howling 
gave him to understand that their common friend was 
no longer in existence. Ardilliers offered the dog 
some food, and endeavoured to quiet him by caresses j 
but the distressed animal continued to howl pitiably, 
and, laying hold of his coat, led him significantly to- 
wards the door. 

Ardilliers at length complied with the dog's appa- 
rent request, and was led by the sagacious and affec- 
tionate animal from street to street, and conducted 
from, the city to a large oak in the forest, where he 
began to howl louder, and to scratch the earth with 
his feet. Aubry's friend could not help surveying the 
spot with melancholy foreboding, and desired the ser- 
vant who accompanied him, to fetch a spade and dig 



np the earth,— when, in a short time, he discovered 
the body of his murdered friend. 

Some time after, the dog accidentally met the mur- 
derer of his master, barked, rushed upon him, and 
attacked him with such ferocity that the spectators 
could not, without great diflSculty, extricate him. The 
same circumstance occurred several times. The faith- 
ful animal, which was in general as quiet as a lamb, 
became like a raging tiger every time he saw the per- 
son who had murdered his master. 

This circumstance excited great astonishment ; and 
strong suspicions having arisen, it was remembered 
that Maquer, on several occasions, had betrayed symp- 
toms of enmity against Aubry ; and various other cir- 
cumstances being combined, brought the matter almost 
to a certainty. The King, hearing of this affair, was 
desirous of being convinced with his own eyes whe- 
ther or not the dog was in the right. The parties 
were brought before him ; the dog fawned upon every- 
body else, but attacked Maquer with the utmost vio- 
lence as soon as he saw him enter. The King, con- 
sidering this to be a fair occasion for the ordeal, — 
which was at the time customary upon less impor- 
tant occasions, — ordered the fate of Maquer to be de- 
termined by single combat with the dog. Charles 
instantly appointed the time and place. Maquer en- 
tered the list armed with his lance ; the dog was let 
loose upon him, and a most dreadful contest ensued. 
Maquer made a thrust, but the dog, springing aside. 


seized him by the throat, and threw him down. There- 
upon the villain confessed his crime, and Charles, in 
order that the remembrance of the faithful animal 
might be handed down to posterity, caused to be 
erected to him, in the forest where the murder was 
committed, a marble monument, with a suitable in- 

Such is the historical relation respecting this re- 
markable dog; and although it may seem ^^ passing 
strange ^^ that a do^ should have the instinct to disco- 
ver the murderer of his master, yet the incident is by 
no means more incredible than the many which I have 
read or heard of in the matter of canine sagacity. In- 
deed I would believe anything good related of the dog 
— that animal which has done so much to make man a 
gentleman. The following, however, is the only fact 
I have ever heard of, respecting the dog, which seems 
to stagger belief. They tell a story of a Scotch dog, 
which, whenever a penny was given to him, used to 
go at once to a baker with the coin in his mouth, 
when, on dropping it, the baker would give him a 
penny roll. On one occasion, however, the baker 
cheated him, taking his penny, but giving him only a 
halfpenny roll — and then the dog went and fetched a 
policeman I It should be remembered, however, that 
it was a Scotch dog. 

With regard to the contest which has just been de- 
scribed, it may be remarked that Maquer had a great 
advantage over the dog in being armed with a lance^ 


so that the encounter was ten to one in his favour. 
On the other hand, it by no means follows that Ma- 
quer, unarmed, would have had no chance with the 
dog. This would depend entirely on the kind of man 
and kind of dog. Some dogs would be an overmatch 
for most men ; but some men, unarmed in any man^ 
ner, would be an overmatch for any dog. An instance 
of this, among many others that might be mentioned, 
occurred in the city of Londonderry. A man under- 
took to fight a very fierce and powerful bulldog merely 
for a trifling bet. The place appointed was in the 
Diamond — a square in the centre of the city, where a 
great concourse of people assembled to witness so un- 
precedented a contest. When the hour came, the man 
appeared, pulled off his clothes, entered the ring, and 
threw off his shirt ; whilst the butcher, to whom the 
dog belonged, held the eager animal, on the other side 
of the ring, by the neck. When the man, without any 
apparent intimidation, said he was ready, the dOg was 
slipped at him, and advanced in a couchant attitude till 
within about four feet distance, where he made a 
spring at the man^s throat — the man, at the same in- 
stant, dexterously striking him with the edge of his 
hand across the windpipe, which he seconded with a 
vigorous kick in the stomach, thus flinging the dog 
upon his back at some distance. But the dog imme- 
diately recovered, and made another spring at the 
man^s throat, which was his invariable object, and 
which was parried in like manner by his antagonist, 


liitting him, as before, with his feet. Seven or eight 
times did the dog renew the attack, whilst the man 
never once missed his blow, nor received a scratch. 
At length the dog could rise no more, though not 
killed, when the man stepped forward, and taking a 
knife from his breeches pocket, seized the dog, with 
the intention of cutting his throat ; but the butcher, 
amazed at seeing his dog thus conquered, after having 
beaten so many bulls, called out that he would give 
five pounds to save his life — to which the other readily 
agreed, whilst the surrounding and astonished multi- 
tude filled his hat with silver and coppers. 

Chataigneraye and Guy Chabot or Jarnac. 

(In the sixteenth century.) 

In those days, duels were attended with great bustle 
and eclat ; and one of the most remarkable was that 
between Chdtaigneraye and the famous Jarnac. The 
former had spoken insultingly of the latter, who pub- 
holy called him a Uar. The quarrel had occurred in 
the reign of Francis I., but the King had refused to 
permit a duel between his favourites. At the acces- 
sion of Henry II., however, the afiair came off, the 
King yielding to the entreaties of the two noblemen, 
and granting the permission which his predecessor had 

Eespecting this duel, Pasquier makes a remark, 
drawing attention to the change introduced by duel- 


ling in the procedure of chivalry. Before the former 
practice, the defendant was called upon to give the 
lie, and yet ceased not to be the defendant or injured 
party ; but in the code of duelling, if one man charges 
another with anything, and receives the lie, he is com- 
pelled to challenge him in order to wipe out the of- 
fence, so that his enemy becomes the defendant, thus 
having a great advantage, since he can select his arms, 
after having practised with them as long as he pleases, 
and take his opponent unawares on the day of combat, 
as in the duel between Jarnac and Ch&taigneraye. 

The way Jarnac availed himself of this privilege was 
in every way remarkable. His challenge required 
Ch&taigneraye to provide more than thirty different 
sorts of arms, and various kinds of horses, such as 
Spanish, Arabian, etc., with different kinds of harness 
and saddles — and all merely to put his enemy to ex- 
pense, and to surprise him on the day of battle — the 
consequence being that Ch&taigneraye must have been 
ruined, had he not been assisted by the King, as well 
as provided with ample means of his own. He might 
well remark that " Jarnac wanted to try his purse as 
well as his courage.^^ 

The preparations for the duel were made with great 
pomp and extravagance, and it came off at Saint-Ger- 
. main, in the presence of the King, the whole Court, 
and an immense concourse of people. All the duels 
in those times were fought in the presence of a con- 
course of people. 


CMtaigneraye, who enjoyed the reputation of being 
an expert and accomplished duellist, had prepared a 
royal banquet, to celebrate the victory upon which he 
counted; but he did not count on that famous cut, 
since termed " The Cut of Jamac," which severed his 
hamstring, and laid him at the feet of his opponent. 
Furious at his defeat, he refused the assistance of a 
priest, and died blaspheming. Henry II., who was 
greatly attached to Ch&taigneraye, took an oath over 
his corpse, never again to permit a duel. 

Chateauneuf and Lachesnayb. 
(Seventeenth Century.) 

Henry II. kept his oath, but tiie rage for duelling 
only increased the more, and from the time of the first 
edicts against it to the beginning of the 1 7th century, 
it is said that six thousand gentlemen had been its 

Brantome mentions the above duel as having taken 
place towards the end of the reign of Henry II. 

Chateauneuf was a young man, the ward of Laches- 
naye, his guardian, who was eighty years of age. The 
meeting took place at Louviers. When the parties 
were in presence, Chateauneuf asked Lachesnaye if he 
had uttered the insulting words reported to him. The 
old man assured him, on the faith of a gentleman, that 
the report was false. 

" Then I am satisfied,^^ said Chateauneuf. 

^^But I am not,^^ replied Lachesnaye, ^^for as you 


have given me the trouble of coming hither, I must 
fight. What will these people here, assembled from 
all parts, say of us ? Why, that we came to talk, not 
to fight. That is too much for our honour to bear, and 
so let's fight.'' 

They set to with sword and dagger. 

^^ Oh, you rogue," exclaimed Lachesnaye, ^^ you are 
cuirassed. Ah ! But I'll do for you, notwithstanding." 

Thereupon he aimed at the head and neck of his 
young opponent, but in a minute or two he was run 
through the body, and fell, dying on the spot. 


This tragic affair occurred at the accession of 
Francis II. to the throne of France. Achon, other- 
wise called Mouron, was a young man, and Matas 
an old soldier, and both of them were attending the 
King at the chase, in the forest of Vincennes, when a 
few words passed between them, and they withdrew to 
cross swords. In a few seconds Matas disarmed his 
opponent, exclaiming in a fatherly tone, 

" Now go, young man. Mind you hold your sword 
better next time, and beware of attacking such a man 
as I am. Pick up your sword. Go away. I forgive 
you, and let's never hear another word about it, young 
man as you are." 

Thereupon Matas walked off quietly towards his 
horse, but whilst he was in the act of mounting on 
the saddle, the young miscreant, who was burning 


with the desire to avenge his discomfiture, basely 
rushed upon his brave antagonist and killed him on 
the spot. 

Nothing was said of this foul murder, because 
Achon was highly connected, and the family of the 
murdered man was related to Madame Valentinois, 
the celebrated Diane de Poitiers, who, by the death of 
Henry II., was then only a neglected mistress, and 
without influence. 

Still, poor Matas was very much regretted, for he 
was a gallant fellow ; and the great Due de Guise, in 
his sympathy for him, blamed him for having spared 
the young murderer when he had him at his mercy, 
thus coming by his own death. " On the other hand,^^ 
he added, " your old braves and military foxes should 
not abuse their talents and luck by provoking young 
fools, who are only too ready with their weapons, for 
it grieves the Almighty.^' Dieu s'en attriste. This sin- 
gular expression conveys the feelings of the time re- 
specting matters which, at the present day, we con- 
template only with unmitigated horror and aversion. 

D^Entragues and Quelus. 
(A. D. 1578.) 

This affair is called '* the duel of the favourites.^^ 
The principals were Charles de Balzac d^Bntragues, 
belonging to the Guise family, and Jacques de Quelus, 
the greatest favourite of Henry III. The quarrel had 
occurred at the Louvre, and was on account of the 



" ladies/^ It was the first occasion on whicli the se- 
conds took an active part in the combat. The seconds 
of Quelus were Livarot and Maugiron ; those of D^En- 
tragnes, Riberac and Schomberg. 

When the two principal^ had set to, Riberac said to 
Maugiron — 

" I think we ought to reconcile these gentlemen, 
rather than let them kill each other/^ 
To which the other replied : — 

" Sir, I have not come here to talk. I want to 

''To fight? With whom? The quarrel does not 
concern jou" 

"With you, Sir?'' 
" With me ? Then let us pray." 
Whereupon Riberac crossed his sword with his poi- 
guard, and, falling on his knees, made a short prayer, 
which, however, the impatient Maugiron thought ra- 
ther long. Urged to the fight, Riberac sprang up 
with a bound, and rushed furiously upon his taunting 
opponent. In a few minutes both fell mortally 

Ashamed of standing with their hands beside them 
after this example, Schomberg said to Livarot, — 

"These gentlemen are fighting. What shall we 
do ?" 

" Let's have a fight for the fun of the thing." 
They set to. Schomberg, who was a German, fol- 
lowed the method of his country and cut off half Livarot's 

VOL. I. L 



left cheek, who returned the compliment with running 
him through the breast. He died on the spot blas- 
pheming ; Riberac died on the following day ; Livarot 
recovered, but was killed two years afterwards in a 
duel. '^ As for Quelus, the cause of the whole aflfair/^ 
says Pierre de Ffitoile, ^^ he received nineteen cuts and 
languished during thirty-three days, when he died. 
Of no avail to him was it that the King his master 
went to see him every day and hung over his pillow, 
and had promised him a hundred thousand crowns, and 
a hundred thousand crowns to the surgeons if they 
healed him. He died, continually repeating, even 
with his last breath, these words, which he uttered 
with loud groans and much affliction, ^ Oh, my King ! 
my King,^ without saying one word of God Almighty 
or his mother. 

"The King, indeed, was deperately attached to 
Quelus and Maugiron. He kissed them both when 
dead, had their heads shaved, and preserved their 
golden locks, and took off Quelus^s earrings which he 
had himself given him.^^ 

Whilst a preacher of the time exclaimed in the 
pulpit that " the bodies of these blasphemers should 
be flung into a ditch,^^ they were laid in state on mag- 
nificent beds, a princely funeral was given to them, and 
the following epitaph consecrated to tliree of them :-^ 

" Ke^oi, Seigneur, en ton giron, 
Quelus, Schomberg, et Maugiron."* 

* " E/eceive, O Lord, jipon Thy lap, 
Quelus, Schomberg, and Maugiron.'* 


There was another epitaph composed for the occa- 
sion : — 

** Hie situs est Quelus, superas revocatus ad auras, 
Primus ut assideat cum Gaunimede Jovis."* 

Henry III. raised splendid monuments to Quelus 
and Maugiron ; and thus the whole aflRair forms as 
complete a picture of the times as can well be fur- 
nished to the philosopher, the moralist, or the Christian. 

Saint-Just and Fosse. 

(Beginning of the seventeenth century.) 

Henry IV. had scarcely entered Paris when duelling 
broke out with greater fury than ever. More gentle- 
men fell in duels than during the civil war. From 
1589 to 1608 eight thousand victims were numbered. 

Fosse and -Saint-Just were two gentlemen of the 
opposite parties, the second of the former was the Due 
du Maine, that of the latter was the Marechal de 
Biron. The duel was fought on horseback and in 
the sight of the two armies. Henry IV., who was 
then at Saint-Denis playing at tennis when Saint-Just 
took leave of him, observed as he was setting off, 
" There^s a man who is going to die.^^ The prophecy 
was fulfilled; Saint- Just dropped his sword, remain- 
ing where he was, and Fosse ran him through the 

Henry IV. had the humour of his father, Antoine de 

* " Here lie the remains of Quelus, being called on high to 
sit first with Jove's Ganymede." 

L 2 



Navarre, who one day made a sign to one of his suite 
named Bellegarde, telling him " he would like to have 
a word with him in private/^ which was his mode of 
giving the challenge ; and Henry IV. himself was 
very near fighting a duel. It was during the League. 
The future King was to fight, in company with the 
Prince de Conde, with the Dues de Mayenne and Guise. 
Henry III. prevented the duel. 

But if Henry IV. did not fight a duel in person, he 
did so by proxy. It was in 1605. The King had ex- 
pressed to the Due de Guise feelings of jealousy 
respecting Bassompierre, who had been rather as- 
siduous to his mistress. Mademoiselle d^Bntragues, — 
indeed had completely succeeded with the frail beauty, 
as he was the father of her son, M. de Xaintes. The 
Duke offered to avenge the King. " I am,^' he said 
" a knight-errant, and I am ready to break three lances 
with your rival this very day after dinner in any place 
your Majesty may be pleased to appoint.^^ 

Henry IV. agreed to the proposal, '^ The KiTig/^ 
says Bassompierre, " was quite agreeable, as usual 
with him on such occasions, and fixed upon the 
Louvre, the court of which he said he would get sanded 
for the purpose. He named M. de Joinville, his 
brother, as his second, and M. de Thermes as his third 
party. I took M. de Saint-Luc and M. de Sault.'^ 

The duel took place before the Salle des Suisses, 
and at the first shock Bassompierre received a furious 
thrust of the lance in his belly. He himself describes 


tlie horrible consequences : — ^^ All my bowels," he 
says, ^^ came out of my belly and fell to the right down 
my leg. The King, the Constable, and all the chief 
gentlemen of the court were present, most of them 
weeping, believing that I had not another hour to 

A characteristic letter of Henry IV. to Duplessis- 
Momay, who complained to the King of having been 
insulted by a young lord, shows plainly enough that 
duelling was encouraged by him to the utmost extent, 
and may account for the prevalence of the practice, ati 
least, during the earlier part of his reign. Here it 
it is : — 

^^ Monsieur Duplessis, I am much grieved at the 
insult which you have received, in which I share as 
king and as your friend. As the former, I shall do 
justice to you and to myself also. If I had only the 
second title, you have no one whose sword would be 
readier to fly from the scabbard, or who would make 
lighter of life than I." 

It is also on record that one of the King's expres- 
sions ultimately caused a foul assassination in England, 
as before related, page 34. 

Such was the consequence of the inconsiderate words 
of King Henry IV., and such was, generally, his share 
in the promotion of duelling. Duellists had a fine time 
of it during the reign of the Bon Henri, and one of 
the most redoubtable of them figures in the following 
account, Lagarde Vallon. 



Lagarde Vallon and Bazanez. 

(Seventeenth century.) 

This Lagarde Vallon, by his great celebrity as a 
duellist, attracted the attention, and provoked the 
artistic jealousy, of one Bazanez, another exterminator 
of the time. The latter hit upon a rather fantastic 
mode of challenge, worthy of the times described by 
Cervantes, and suitable to the hero of La Mancha. 
He sent Lagarde Valloi^ a hat, with the threat of 
taking it from him, together with his life. Duellistic 
fancy could no further go, we imagine. 

Lagarde put on the hat quietly, and hurried off in 
search of Bazanez, who, by the bye, was also eagerly 
on the watch for the former. At last they fell in 
with each other, or rather, as we may be sure, they 

were brought together by the human animals existing 
.in all times and countries, who like nothing better 

than to see a row, a fight, a murder, an execution ; 

for it was impossible for them to recognize each other, 

as they had never met before. 

They set to on the instant. Lagarde came down 

at once with a vigorous cut on the head of Bazanez, 

but the frontal bone was so hard that it turned off the 

weapon. The second cut, however, went in, and 

Lagarde said, " That's for the hat.^^ 

"This is for the feather,^^ he added with another 


^^ -And this is for the tassel," a third time he said by 

way of conclusion. 


Bazanez lost li' great deal of blood, but was not 
done for as yet. '■ He made an extreme effort, rushed 
upon bis opponeii^, and got him down. In this posi- 
tion be drove his |W)ignard repeatedly in a line between 
his neck to his shouider, saying, " I am giving you a 
scarf to wear with thd^hat/^ He gave him fourteen 
stabs from the neck to the navel. At each stab 
Bazanez exclaimed, ^^ Beg ,for your hfe/^ 

^' No, no \" said Lagarde, ■' not yet, my dear fellow -/' 
and, hacked about as he was io every part of his body, 
he bit off the chin of his slaughterer, and smashed the 
back of his head with the pommeL of his sword. 

This put an end to the conflict, which was thus a 
drawn battle, both being drunk with slaughter and 

Strange to say, both of them recovered from their 
frightful wounds. Bazanez died some years after, 
being surprised by an ambuscade. The other cut- 
throat " retired,^^ and became the terror of the neigh- 
bourhood where he took up his habitation, a public 
pest, addressing to the objects of his hatred, letters in 
the following style : — 

"Your house in ashes, your wife ravished, your 
children hanged. 

" Your mortal enemy, 

" Lagardb.^^ 

I need quote no more instances of duelling in this 
reign of Henry IV. No doubt there were issued 
edicts against duelling in his name, owing doubtless 



to the wise interference of his great mifcater. Sully ; but 

still there is the ugly fact that no les^Ttkan than- seven 

thousand '' pardons " were granted hy his Majesty for 

duelling during an interval of ninetten years, — ^that is, 

on the average, 368 in the year, o>r one a day ! 

The Three BROTjhiBS Binau. 

Tallement des Reaux d;evotes a chapter to the 
duels of the days of Richelieu \ among the rest are the 
following : — There were/cnree brothers named Binau; 
they were all brave/ fellows, but the second was 
a madcap. He tool^ it into his head to fight his 
younger brother, arid, in spite of all elHTorts and persua- 
sions, he one det^ insulted him so grossly that the 
young man could bear it no longer ; they set to, but 
the offender was disarmed and compelled to promise 
not to mention the shameful and unnatural duel to any 
one. The eldest was at Metz, and sent for the second 
brother, who managed to pick a quarrel with a brave 
fellow named La Paye. The elder brother insisted upon 
reconciling them, but in the attempt the madcap 
pulled out a stick which he had under his cloak, and, 
as La Faye was inclining towards him, he raised it 
and belaboured him. Binau fell upon his brother, 
knocked him down, and kicked him unmercifully. 
The bystanders prevented La Faye from taking his 
revenge, whereupon he declared he would fight all of 
them, and in effect challenged four. The younger 
brother was put in prison, and Binau did all he could. 


to appease La Faye, who, however, insisted upon a 
duel. They met with pistols on horseback ; La Faye^s 
shot struck the pommel of Binau^s saddle, and the 
ball of the latter went through the body of his oppo- 
nent. La Faye tottered, and his horse ran off with 
him. Binau cried out, ^^La Faye, come back, come 
back j you are running away." The wounded man fell 
from his horse and died the same day, declaring with 
his last words that his only grievance was the fact of 
his having been told that he was running away, — ; 
which Tallement thinks being rather delicate. 

The Baron d'Aspremont. 

The Baron d^Aspremont fought two duels in one 
day. In the morning he killed a man and was 
slightly wounded in the thigh. At noon he sat down 
to dinner at the house of M. d^Enghien, but the pain 
of the wound prevented him from eating, when he 
amused himself with pitching pellets of bread at one of 
his friends. One of the pellets unfortunately struck 
the forehead of some gentleman who happened to be 
visiting there for the first time. The gentleman 
thought he would be contemptible if he put up with 
the joke, and demanded an explanation. Aspremont 
told him that he never gave any explanations except- 
ing sword in hand. Accordingly they went out to- 
gether to a neighbouring field, where they set to, and 
Aspremont wounded and disarmed his antagonist. 


The CflEVALTER d^Andribox. 

This man at the age of thirty had killed seventy- 
two men in duels, as he once boasted to a brave with 
whom he was fighting. The man had said, — " Che- 
valier, you will be the tenth man I have killed /' to 
which the latter replied, — "And you will be my 
seventy-second /^ and he killed him. This man seems 
to have been an unaccountable monster; sometimes 
he compelled his discomfited antagonists to deny Gk)d, 
on the promise of their lives, and then he cut their 
throats, in order, as he said, to have the pleasure of 
killing their souls and bodies together ! . . . . 

Sword-cut and Cannon-shot. 

Among the odd stories of the old gossip Tallement 
des R^aux, we are told of a celebrated duellist, called 
Fontenay Coup-d^fipee, which surname " Swordcut'^ 
he received from a frightful gash he gave a constable 
who was taking him ojff to prison. One day this des- 
perado came in contact with another of his own stamp 
in the street, who refused to make way for him. 

" I'd have you to know that I am Fontenay Coup- 
d'Epee,'' cried the former with a voice of thunder. 

" And 1,^' replied the other, " am Lachapelle Coup 
de Canon" (cannon-shot). 

In an instant they set to, and would have cut each 
other to pieces had they not been separated. 

Fontenay Coup-d'Ep^e was always at war; bnt 




sometimes he fell in with his match, and received two 
severe lessons on one day. He went to the church of 
the Celestins, where he insulted a burgess, who gave 
him a slap in the face. He durst not make a noise in 
the church, so he went out and walked about, waiting 
for the man to come out when the service was ended. 
As he walked about muffled up in his cloak, he at- 
tracted the attention of a joiner then passing with a 
friend, and the young man exclaimed, pointing to 
Fontenay, " There^s a fellow who seems to be in a 
rage.^^ Fontenay, who, in effect, was in a towering 
rage, drew his sword, and made a cut at the joiner^s 
ears ; but the latter happened to have a long sword 
under his arm : in fact, the man had been a profes- 
sional cut-throat. He defended himself, and as his 
sword was much longer than Fontenay^ s, he wounded 
our captain in the thigh, and left him on the ground. 
Fontenay^ s friends, being informed of the mishap, went 
and carried him home ; and he could not help railing 
at himself for having been beaten in so short a time, in 
two different ways, by a burgess and a joiner. 

During the reign of Louis XIII., private rencontres 
were carried on with circumstances which rendered 
them as absurd as they were atrocious. In one in- 
stance we read of two champions getting into a pun- 
cheon and fighting with knives ; and in another two 
noblemen fighting with daggers, holding each other 
by the left hand. 


The Baron de Luz, his Son, and the Chevalier de 


(a.d. 1613.) 

This is one of the most tragic personal encounters of 
the period we are contemplating. The baron had met 
De Guise in the Rue St. Honore, and some words 
arose between them respecting the death of the late 
De Guise, who had been assassinated at Blois, by 
order of Henry III. The baron was on foot, De Guise 
on horseback ; he immediately alighted, and requested 
the baron to draw. The old man could scarcely be- 
lieve that the chevalier was in earnest, yet drew his 
sword in self-defence. He was not only aged, but for 
years had been out of practice ; whereas his antagonist 
was a young man, in the prime of life, and famed for 
his swordmanship. 

The first thrust of Guise proved fatal, his sword 
passing through the body of his adversary, who stag- 
gered to a shoemaker^ s shop hard by, and fell down 
dead. His antagonist quietly wiped his sword, re- 
mounted his horse, and rode off in the most uncon- 
cerned manner. 

The deceased had a son about the same age as the 
chevalier, who, upon hearing of his father^s death, was 
determined to avenge him. From the high rank and 
station of De Guise, he well knew that, if he fell, no 
part of Europe could afford him an asylum from prose- 
cution ; yet was he determined in so just a cause to 


run every risk ; and, as he did not dare approach the 
hotel of the proud nobleman, he sent him a challenge 
by his esquire, couched in the following respectful 
language : — 

" No one, my lord, can bear witness to the just rea- 
son of my sorrow more forcibly than your lordship. I, 
therefore, entreat your lordship to forgive my resent- 
ment when expressing my desire that you will do me 
the honour of meeting me, sword in hand, to give me 
satisfaction for my father^ s death. 

" The esteem which I feel for your well-known cou- 
rage induces me to hope that your lordship will not 
plead your high rank to avoid a meeting in which your 
honour is so deeply compromised. 

" The gentleman who bears this will conduct you to 
the place where I am waiting for your lordship, with a 
good horse and two swords, of which you will have the 
choice ; or, should your lordship prefer it, I shall attend 
you at any place you may command.^^ 

The meeting took place on horseback, and, after a 
desperate conflict, the murderer of the father gave the 
son the satisfaction of taking his life also.* 

While they were fighting, their seconds wounded 
each other ; and D^Audignier, who gives the particu- 

* This De Guise was grandson of Henri de Lorraine, Due de 
Guise, surnamed the Cheat j and who was killed at the siege of 
Orleans ; his father, surnamed the Balafr6i from a deep scar on 
the face, was assassinated at Blois. They were both looked 
upon as doctors in the science of duelling, and their opinion and 
decision considered law. 


lars of this duel, adds, very naively, that '^ this victory 
would have been more gratifying to God if the cheva- 
lier had fought for the same cause that led his ancestors 
into Palestine/^ 

After such a sentiment, respecting such an occasion, 
the reader will not be surprised to learn that this 
D^Audignier was a conscientious advocate of duelling. 
He seems to have been particularly interested in such 
encounters, of which he relates many instances. He 
was a gentleman belonging to the court of Louis XIII., 
and did himself the honour of presenting a supplication 
to that monarch, not only to cancel all edicts against 
duelling, but to allow the practice. The following are 
the terms of the document : — 

"A great trial. Sire, is carried on between the 
nobility and the law in your Majesty^s dominions, in 
which you alone can decide. Tour nobility maintain 
that a gentleman whose honour is impeached should 
either vindicate it with his sword, or forfeit his life ; 
whereas law asserts that a gentleman who draws his 
sword shall lose his life ; and surely your Majesty, who 
is the chief of the most generous nobility in existence, 
cannot feel it your interest thus to blunt their valour, 
or, under the vain pretence of preserving their honour, 
behold them reduced to the necessity of losing sight of 
its dictates, or seek to maintain it with their jpen, — like 
the low-bred, disputiug the right of arms before menial 
lawyers. ^^ 

Our advocate of the noble practice and the rights of 


honour, concludes by imploring the King to render 
duels less frequent by permitting them to take place 
on certain occasions when the King himself should be 
present; and when the public, he adds, ^^ instead of 
being involved in differences and law-suits, which con- 
sume both blood and fortune, would be delivered of 
the two monsters, and would feel proud of displaying 
their courage in your service, and their valour in your 
royal presence/^ 

The most remarkable duel of this warlike epoch is 
that which brought the head of Francois de Montmo- 
rency, Count de Bouteville, to the scaffold, — as before 
related, page 29. Every morning the hall of this 
desperate duellist had been crowded with what was 
called " the golden youth of France," where fencing 
and trials of skUl at all arms were practised, and a 
sumptuous repast laid out for the company. 

In the midst of these scenes of blood, however, it 
affords some relief to find that even then there were 
individuals who dared the prejudice of public opinion, 
and, respecting the laws both of God and man, firmly 
resisted the practice — among the rest. Monsieur de 
Reuly, a young officer, who could not be induced to 
fight a duel under any circumstances. Having once 
been grievously offended, he submitted the case to the 
decision of his generals, who determined it in his fa- 
vour ; but his opponent insisted upon a personal meet- 
ing, and sent him a challenge. De Reuly told the ser- 


vant who brought it that the person who had sent him 
was much in the wrong, and that he had received all 
the satisfaction which in justice or reason could be de- 
manded. But the other still pressing and repeating 
his challenge, and that, too, with some insolent and 
provoking language, Reuly stated " that he could not 
accept the challenge, since God and the King had for- 
bidden it I that he had no fear of the person who had 
insulted him, but feared God, and dreaded offending 
him j that he would continue to go abroad every day, as 
he was wont, wherever his affairs should call him ; and 
that, if any attack was made upon him, he would make 
the aggressor repent it/^ 

His adversary, unable to draw him into a duel, 
sought him, accompanied by his second ; and, having 
met him when only attended by his servant, attacked 
him, when both the principal and his second were se- 
verely wounded by him ; and, assisted by his servant, 
he carried them both to his quarters, where he got 
their wounds dressed, and refreshed them with some 
wine. Then, restoring to them their swords, he dis- 
missed them, assuring them that no boasting of his 
should ever compromise their character. Nor did he 
ever after speak of the transaction, even to the servant 
who had been present at the affair. 

In my humble opinion, this M. De Reuly was far 
more deserving of the qualification, sans peur et sans 
reprochey than the celebrated cut-throat to whom it has 
been absurdly appropriated. 





Passions, crimes, and virtuous acts that make an im- 
mortality, are things of epochs ; so that, after all, when 
the balance is struck, we find all humanity on a par, 
in all countries and all times, in virtue and in vice, each 
having its representative exponent perpetually repro- 
duced, and making the misery and happiness of man- 
kind everlasting constants, as to measure, degree, or 

I know not whether the reader will think better of 
England than of France in the details of the early 
duels of both countries; but no doubt all of us will 
feel inclined to accuse the force of example, as usual, 
as first given for evil by poor unfortunate mother Eve. 

Thb Duel between the Duke of B and 

Lord B . 

This frightful encounter is described in a MS. paper 

VOL. I. M 


found in the library of Mr. Goodwin, author of the 
' Life of Henry VIII/ 

The following was the cartel on the occasion : — 

" His Grace the Duke of B to the Lord B . 

"The affront which you gave me at the imperial 
minister's ball last night would argue me a person 
very unworthy of the character I bear' to let it pass 
unregarded. To prove me that adventurous knight, 
which your evasive expression would have given the 
noble lady to understand, may perhaps be the most 
acceptable means to reconcile your spleen. Convince 
me, then, that you are more of a gentleman than I have 
reason to believe, by meeting me near the first tree be- 
hind the lodge in Hyde Park, precisely at half an hour 
after five to-morrow morning ; and that there may be 
no pretension to delay, I have sent by the bearer of 
this two swords, of which I give you the privilege to 
make a choice. I shall approve of whatever terms of 
fighting you shall please to propose. In the interim, 
I wish your Lordship a good rest, 

" B. 

" Nine d' clock J^ 

" Lord B 's answer to the above. 

" I received your Grace's message, and accept the 
contents. It would give me a sensible concern to be 
obliged to give up the pretension which your Grace 
is doubtful of. It was from an oversight, I presume, 
that your Grace gave me the privilege to choose my 
sword, except your Grace has been so little used to 


this sort of ceremony as to have forgot that it is the 
challenger^s choice. This, however, is but a trifle (if 
anything). The terms I leave to our seconds, and will 
not fail to appear at the time appointed; and in the 
interim, I wish your Grace a very good night. 

^^ Eleven o'cloch" 

Thus, in two hours, the affair was arranged. 

^^ After my Lord B had answered his Grace^s 

letter, he visited several of his friends, and was ob- 
served to be remarkably jocose at Lady Nottingham's, 
which occasioned a young lady, after his departure, to 
remark, that she fancied there was something very 
agreeable to his Lordship renewed again, relating to 

the Countess B , well knowing his extraordinary 

passion for that lady. He told the messenger who 
carried his letter to bring his Grace's answer to Ge- 
neral De Lee, his second, with whom he remained that 
night in St. James's Street. 

" About four in the morning his Lordship waked, 
and got softly up, without (as he thought) being ob- 
served; and dressing himself, buckled on his sword, 
and fixing two agate flints in his pistols, charged 
them ; but recollecting that the Duke's second would 
probably desire to see them loaded, he drew the 

" By this time the General was awake, and observ- 
ing his Lordship taking a book out of his pocket, he 
thought it improper to interrupt him. His Lordship 

M 2 


then kneeled down at a small jasper table, and seemed 
to pray with great devotion for a quarter of an hour, 
often repeating, just loud enough to be heard, the 
errors of his youthful days, and fervently supplicating 
the Almighty not to impute them to him j after which 
he awoke the General, adding, that as the morning 
was cold and rainy, he did not wish to delay his 

^^By the time they were accoutred, De Lee re- 
quested to view his Lordship's sword, when he ex- 
amined the point and handle most cautiously, and 
then returned it, adding, that he wished it was going 
to be employed in a cause more serviceable to his 
country. His Lordship replied, that it could be mat- 
ter of little consequence, let the event be what it would. 
On their departure, the General desired to know if 
there was anything he was desirous to communicate, 
upon which he placed in his hand a letter, addressed 
to the Eight Honourable the Countess of E , de- 
siring that he would deliver it to her when alone, and 
not upon any consideration to put it into another 

'' They arrived somewhat before the appointed time, 
and took several turns from the tree to the lodge, 
his Lordship several times expressing surprise at his 
Grace's delay, though it was not more than two mi- 
nutes beyond it. 

'' His Grace then arrived, attended with one second 
only. He bade his Lordship good morning, and hoped 


he had not waited for him long ; then, pulling out his 
watch, said he had hit it to a point, adding, that he 
would rather die than break his promise upon such an 
occasion. His Lordship returned the expression, and 
said, that, though they had waited a little, there was 
suflBcient time left to dispatch the business they were 
upon. To which his Grace replied, the sooner it is dis- 
patched, the more leisure there will be behind. In 
the interim the seconds were pairing the swords, and 
each one loading his adversary's pistols. They then 
agreed to the following terms, namely : — 

" 1. That the distance of firing should not be less 
at each time than seven yards and a half. 

"2. That if either should be dangerously wounded 
on the first discharge, the duel should cease, if the 
wounded person would own that his life was in the 
hands of his antagonist. 

" 3, That between the firing and the drawing swords 
there should be no limited time, but each should en- 
deavour to make the first thrust. 

'^ 4. That if either should yield, as in the second ar- 
ticle, during the engagement with swords, whether by 
a wound, false step, or any other circumstance, then 
the engagement should cease. 

" To which four articles both assented. His Grace 
stripped ofi* his coat, which was scarlet, trimmed with 
broad gold lace, when his Lordship's second stepped 
in to unbutton his Grace's waistcoat, to see justice 
done to the cause he had espoused; on which, with 


some indignation, his Grace replied, — 'Do you take 
me to be a person of so little honour !' 

" The same ceremony was performed on his Lord- 
ship, who had already pulled off his coat, which was 
crimson, with broad silver lace; and both the com- 
batants being ready. Lord B added, — ' Now, if it 

please your Grace, come on/ 

" His Grace fired, and missed ; but my Lord B , 

perhaps from more experience, and knowing that bat- 
tles were seldom won by hasty measures, deliberately 
levelled at him, and wounded his Grace near the 

"They both discharged again, when his Lordship 
received a slight wound in his turn. On which they 
instantly drew their swords, and impetuously charged 
each other, each of them seeming rather to meditate 
the death of his adversary than to regard his own 

" In the first or second thrust Lord B entangled 

the toe of his pump in a tuft of grass, and, in evading 
a lounge from his antagonist, fell on his right side, 
but, supporting himself on his sword-hand, by incon- 
ceivable dexterity, he sprang backwards, and evaded 
the thrust apparently aimed at his heart. 

" A little pause intervening here, his Grace^s second 
proposed to his Lordship a reconciliation ; but the ar- 
dent thirst after each other^s blood so overpowered the 
strongest arguments and reason, that they insisted to 
execute each other forthwith, whatever might be the 



consequence. Nay, the anger of his Grace was raised 
to sucli a pitch of revenge, that he, in that irritated 
moment, swore if, for the future, either of the seconds 
interposed, he would make his way through his 

^^ Then, after ail remonstrances had proved ineffec- 
tual, they retired to their limited distances j and per- 
haps one of the most extraordinary duels ensued that 
the records of history can produce, fairly disputed hand 
to hand. 

^^ The parrying after this interval brought on a close 
lock. In this position they stood, I dare say, a minute, 
striving to disengage each other by repeated wrenches, 
in one of which his Grace^s sword got caught in the 
guard of his Lordship, which circumstance his Lord- 
ship overlooked, so that this advantage was recovered 
by his Grace before the consequence which it might 
have brought on was executed. At last, in a very 
strong wrench on both sides, their swords sprang from 
their hands. I dare say his Lordship^s flew six or 
seven yards upright. 

*^ This accident, however, did not retard the affair a 
moment, but both seizing their weapons at the same 
time, the duel was renewed with as much malevolence 
as ever. By this time his Lordship had received a 
thrust through the inner side of his sword-arm, pass- 
ing forward to the exterior part of the elbow ; his, at 
the same time, passing a little over that of his anta- 
gonist: but, cleverly springing back, I think partly 


' before tis Grace had received his push, he ran him 
through the body a little above the right pap. 

" His Lordship's sword being thus engaged, nothing 
was left for his defence but a naked left arm ; and his 
Grace being in this dangerous situation, yet had fair 
play at almost any part of his Lordship's body, who 
bravely put by several thrusts exactly levelled at his 
throat, till at last, having two fingers cut off in defend- 
ing the pushes, and the rest mangled to a horrible de» 
gree, his Grace lodged his sword one rib below the 
heart, and in this affecting position they both stood 
without either being able to make another push. 

^^ Each of them by this time was in a manner covered 
with blood and gore, when both the seconds stepped in 
and begged they would consider their situation, and the 
good of their future state ; yet neither would consent 
to part till, by the great loss of blood which his Lord- 
ship had sustained, he fell down senseless, but in such 
a position that he drew his sword out of his Grace's 

'^ Eecovering himself a little before he was quite 
down, he faltered forward, and, falling with his thigh 
across his sword, snapped it in the middle. 

'^ His Grace, observing that he was no longer capa- 
ble of defence or sensible of danger, immediately broke 
his own sword, and fell on his body with the deepest 
sigh of concern, and both expired before any assistance 
could be got, though Dr. Fountaine had orders not to 
be out of the way that morning. 



^' Tlius fell two gallant men, whose personal bravery 
history can scarcely equal, and whose honour nothing 
but such a cause could stain/' 

Such is the narrative of this horrible encounter, 
which, I suppose, must be accepted as veracious in all 
the particulars; but I cannot well see how, with his 
body spitted by his Lordship, as described ^^ a little 
above the right pap,'' and consequently inferring a 
home-thrust to the very hilt, his Grace could either be 
able to use his sword, or have "fair play at almost 
any part of his Lordship's body." If poignards had 
been mentioned, one might understand it a little bet- 
ter ; but really, after the previous struggle, either this 
case proves that human endurance, under pain, is illi- 
mitable, as perhaps shown by Tom Sayers in continu- 
ing the fight with Heenan so long after his right arm 

was broken, or that the narrative is a mere broad- 
sheet concoction for a sensational purpose. It is ut- 
terly incomprehensible how his Grace, being spitted as 
aforesaid on the right, could possibly ^' lodge his sword 
one rib below the heart" of his Lordship — that is, on 
the left. Doubtless such a feat would produce, as the 
narrative says, an " affecting position ;" but I cannot 
conceive how it could possibly be performed under the 
circumstances described. Other particulars mentioned 
also throw discredit on the narrative. Most hkely it 
is a pure invention, probably an extract from some 
work of fiction, written at the commencement of the 
eighteenth century, although, of course, it may have 
been " founded on fact." 


Sir George Wharton and Sib James Stewart. 

(A.D. 1609.) 

Meny Islington, or that part of North London called 
Canonbury, was the scene of a deadly personal conflict 
during the reign of King James I. 

Sir George Wharton and Sir James Stewart were 
courtiers and favourites of King James; the latter 
was also godson to the King, being the eldest son of 
Walter, first Lord Blantyre. The particulars of the 
quarrel of these fine gentlemen are not on record. We 
are merely told that " reproachful words passed be- 
twixt them '/' but the tenor of the hostile messages, 
happily preserved, leaves no doubt that they were 
"inflamed with a desire of revenge,^^ such as could 
only be inspired by some intolerable wrong, and deep- 
seated hatred; in fact, as one of them says, "some 
odds which no breath could make even,^^ which is 
very tersely put. The following is Wharton's chal- 
lenge : — 

" Sir, — Your misconstruing of my message gives 
me cause to think you extreme vainglorious, a humour 
which the valiant detests. And whereas you unjustly 
said I durst not meet you in the field to fight with 
you, you shall find that you are much mistaken ; for 
I will fight with you with what weapon you shall 
appoint, and meet you where you will, being contented 
to give you this advantage, not valuing the worst you 
can do. 

" George Wharton.'^ 



Sir James Stewart^s Reply. 

" Sir, — ^Your message either being ill-delivered, or 
else not accepted, you have since, though ill-advised, 
retracted, and have repented it; for your messenger 
willed me from you, that either of us should make 
choice of a Mend to debate the matter. To which I 
confess I did but lightly hearken, since I knew some 
odds which no breath could make even. And now 
you have to acknowledge no other speeches than you 
charged me with, which is, that I said you durst not 
meet me in the field to fight. True it is, your bar- 
barous and uncivil insolence in such a place, and be- 
fore such a company (for whose respect I am only 
sorry for what I then did or said), made me do and say 
that which I now will make good. Wherein, since you 
&id yourself behind, I am ready to do you all the right 
you can expect. And to that end have I sent you the 
length of my rapier, which I will use with a dagger, 
and so meet you at the farther end of Islington (as I 
understand nearer you than me) at three of the clock 
in the afternoon ; which things I scorn to take as ad- 
vantages, but as my due, and which I have made in- 
different. And in respect I cannot send any of my 
friends without great hazard of discovery, I have sent 
my servant herewith, who is only acquainted with this 

"James Stuarte (6-ic.).^^* 

* The correspondence is among the Harl. MSS. Brit. Museum. 


The only description extant of the encounter is 
" A lamentable Ballat of a Combat lately fought near 
London/' preserved in Nichols's ^History of Canon- 
bury/ which is much too long for quotation, and more- 
over composed too much in the style of ballad-mongers, 
to warrant belief in its particulars. The following 
scene, however, of the drama seems to be probable 
enough : — 

" Seven thrusts in turn these gallants had 

Before one drop of blood was drawn, 
The Scottish Knight then valiant spoke — 

' Stout Wharton, still thou hold'st thy own.* 
With the next thrust that Wharton thrust 

He ran him through the shoulder-bone. 
The next was through the thick o' thigh." 

After this rather serious skirmishing, it appears that 

" They made a deadly desperate close, 

And both fell dead upon the ground. 
Our English Knight was the first that fell — 

The Scotch Knight fell immediately, 
Who cried out both to Jesus Christ, 

* Receive our souls, O Lord, we die ! 
God bless our noble King and Queen, 

And all the noble progeny !' " 

Certain it is that these desperadoes killed each other. 

** With ruthless spears and ruthless hate 
They rush'd, victorious both — both shared a common fate !" 

When the King heard of this sad affair he was much 
grieved, and ordered them both to be buried in one 
grave, which was done accordingly, as may be inferred 


from the following extract from the register of Is- 
lington : — 

" Sir George Wharton, sonno of Lord Wharton^ was 
buried the 10th of November, 1609; James Steward, 
Esq., godsonne to King James, was buried the 10th of 
November, 1609/' 

Sir Hatton" Cheek and Sir Thomas Dutton. 

(A.D. 1609.) 

This duel took place in the same year as the pre- 
ceding. '^ Sir Hatton Cheek was the second in com- 
mand of the English army at the siege of Juliers, 
in 1609, where a few hasty words addressed by him 
to Sir Thomas Dutton, induced that officer, who was of 
an inferior rank, to resign his commission, and repair 
to England, where he endeavoured to injure the cha- 
racter of Cheek by various unfavourable reports, and 
the latter demanded a meeting at Calais. On their 
meeting on the sands, Dutton began to reproach Cheek 
with the injuries he had received at his hands, but 
Cheek insisted upon the immediate settlement of the 

The seconds stripped both parties to their shirts, 
and they attacked each other, each armed with a 
rapier and a dagger. In the first onset. Cheek ran 
Dutton through the throat with his dagger, close to 
the windpipe ; when Dutton made a pass at him and 
ran him through the body, while he stabbed him in 
the back with his poignard. Although Cheek's. 


wounds were mortal, he rushed upon his antagonist, 
who, observing that he gradually drooped from the 
loss of blood, merely kept on the defensive, till he fell 
dead at his feet/^ 

The Earl op Dorset* and Lord Bruce. 

(A.D. 1613.) 

One of the most remarkable duels on record, and 
fought by two British subjects, although not in Eng- 
land, was that between the Earl of Dorset and Lord 
Bruce. Jealousy is said to have been the cause of the 
meeting, but Lord Bruce had also given the Earl two 
or three slaps in the face. They had had a; bout of 
arms on the occasion, but were parted, and Lord 
Bruce went to France to learn to fence. Jealousy 
about a woman was the cause of the quarrel. 

The present affair came off at Bergen-op-Zoom, and 
the place was selected to the end that, having finished 
the matter in hand, the party who was able might 
quickly exempt himself from the justice of the country 
by retiring into the dominion whose laws were not 
offended, there being in that locality only a village 
dividing the States^ territories from those of the 
archduke. It was likewise agreed, that in case either 
party should fall or slip, then the combat should cease, 
and he whose ill-fortune had so subjected him, was to 
acknowledge his life to have been in the other^s hands. 
But in case one party^s sword should break, because 

* Previously, Sir Edward Sackville. 


ttat could only take place by ctance, it was agreed 
that tlie other should take no advantage, but either 
then be made friends, or else upon even terms go at it 

According to the regulations of duelling, the Earl of 
Dorset had sent his sword to Lord Bruce in order to 
pair it, but, instead of doing so, the latter brought one 
twice as broad, though of the same length. The ear?s 
second excepted against it, and advised him to match 
his own, and send Lord Bruce the choice, it being the 
challenger^s privilege to elect his weapon. The swords 
were sent by Sir John Heidon, and, past expectation. 
Lord Bruce chose the earPs, and, moreover, informed 
his lordship that " little of the Earl of Dorset^s blood 
would not serve his turn ; and therefore he was now 
resolved to have him alone, because he knew that so 
worthy a gentleman and friend as Sir John Heidon 
could not stand by and see him do what he felt 
compelled to do, in order to satisfy himself and his 
honour ! '^ In vain the earl protested that such inten- 
tions were bloody and butcherly, far unfitting so noble 
a personage, who should desire to bleed for reputation, 
not for life. Lord Bruce only reiterated his resolution, 
and the Earl of Dorset agreed. 

They rode together, but one before the other, about 
two English miles ; and then the Earl of Dorset, mad 
with anger at the bloodthirstiness of the noble Bruce, 
bade him alight, which with all speed he did, and there 
in a meadow, ankles deep in water, putting off their 



doublets, and in their shirts, they set to, having before 
commanded their surgeons to withdraw at some dis- 
tance, and requiring them, as they respected their 
favours or their own safety, not to stir, but to suffer 
them to execute their pleasure, both being fully re- 
solved to dispatch each other by what naeans they 

And now we must quote the Earl of Dorset's dread- 
ful description of the encounter : — ^^ I made a thrust 
at my enemy, but was short ; and on drawing back my 
arm, I received a great wound therein, which I inter- 
preted as a reward for my short-shooting ; but, in 
revenge, I pressed it to him, though I then missed him 
also, and then received a wound in my right pap, 
which passed both through my body and almost to my 
back ; and then we wrestled for the two greatest and 
dearest prizes we could ever expect trial for, honour 
and life. In which. struggling, my hand, having but 
an ordinary glove upon it, lost one of her servants, 
though the meanest, which having hung by a skin, 
and, to sight, yet remaineth as before. 

" At last, breathless, yet keeping our holds, there 
passed on both sides propositions of quitting each 
other^s swords. But when amity was dead, confidence 
could not live ; and who should quit first was the ques- 
tion, which on neither part either would perform; and 
wrestling again afresh, with a kick and a wrench to- 
gether, I freed my long-captivated weapon, which, 
instantly levelling at his throat — being master still of 


his — I demanded if he would ask for his life, or yield 
his sword — both which, though • in that imminent 
danger, he bravely refused to do. 

^^ Myself being wounded, and feeling loss of blood — 
having three conduits running on me, which began to 
make me faint — and he dangerously persisting not to 
accord to either of my propositions — through remem- 
bering his former bloody desire, and feeling my present 
state, I struck at his heart, but, by his avoiding, missed 
my aim, yet passed through the body ; and, drawing 
out my sword, repassed it again through another place, 
when he cried, ^ Oh, I am slain ! ^ seconding his 
speech with all the force he had to cast me. But he 
being too weak, after I had defended his assault, I 
easily became master of him, laying him on his back, 
when, being upon him, I re-demanded if he would 
request his life, but it seemed he prized it not at so 
dear a rate, to be beholden for it, bravely replying, 
^ He scorned it,^ which answer of his was so noble and 
worthy, as I protest I could not find it in my heart to 
offer him any more violence, only keeping him down, 
until at length his surgeon afar off cried out, ^He 
would immediately die if his wounds were not stopped.^ 
Whereupon I asked if he desired his surgeon should 
come, which he accepted of, and so being drawn away, 
I never offered to take his sword, counting it inhuman 
to rob a dead man, for so I held him to be. 

^^ The matter being thus ended, I retired to my 
surgeon^ in whose arms, after I had remained awhile, 

VOL. I. N 


for want of blood I lost my sight, and withal, as I then 
thought, lost my life also ; but strong waters and his 
diligence quickly recovered me, when I escaped from 
a very great danger : — Lord Bruce's surgeon, when 
nobody dreamt it, came full at me with his lordship^s 
sword, and had not mine, with my sword, interposed, 
I would have been slain by those base hands, although 
my Lord Bruce, weltering in his blood, and past all 
expectation of life, conformable to all his former cou- 
rage, which was undoubtedly noble, cried out, ^Eascal, 
hold thy hand !^'^ 

Such was the terrible duel between the Earl of 
Dorset and Lord Bruce. 





I. Italy. 

During the thirfceentli and fourteentli centuries, Italy 
teemed with treatises on " the noble art and science " 
of duelling, which was held up to the admiration 
of the world in the most elegant language ; and it 
is among the Italians that we hear of the most atro- 
cious duels and the disreputable tricks and ruses with 
which expert, but dishonourable, combatants have 
triumphed in the deadly encounter. The celebrated 
Jarnac, or hamstring cut, was an Italian invention, 
taught to Chdtaigneraye, before mentioned, by an 
Italian master of fence. There were regular professors 
of the scienza cavalleresca, and Alberic Balbiano, Con- 
stable of Naples, instituted a military order, under the 
patronage of St. George, for the due maintenance of 
this honourable pursuit. One Michael Angelo Cara- 

N 2 



vaggio^ an artist, — not the great Michael, of course, — 
made it a practice to challenge all the critics of his 
productions. He sought out endless quarrels, was 
obliged to fly to Malta, and, having kiUed a critic in 
Rome, finally ended his days in abject poverty on the 

Bayard and Don Alonzo de Soto Mayor. 

Whilst the French army was engaged in Italy, dur- 
ing the reign of Louis XII., Bayard routed a party of 
Spaniards, and with his own hands made prisoner of 
Don Alonzo de Soto Mayor. The generous chevalier 
treated his prisoner in the best manner possible, giv- 
ing him a fine suite of apartments in the castle, with the 
utmost freedom on parole, which the Spaniard solemnly 
promised. But a fortnight after he made his escape, 
only, however, to be caught again by the vigilant 
French troopers. Of course. Bayard could not trust 
him again, and confined him to a tower, but without 
any other indignity. 

Don Alonzo, although conscious of having necessi- 
tated the precaution, thought proper to complain of the 
treatment and conduct of his captor. Bayard was 
highly oflfended, and immediately sent him a challenge 
to mortal combat, either on foot or on horseback, and 
with any arms he might select. 

A challenge on such grounds must surprise us, but 
it emanated naturally from the chivalric sentiments 
then in vogue, and Bayard had, it seems, determined 


to maintain the integrity of his character as a knight 
fearless and reproachless {sans jpeur et sans reproche). 
Therefore it was quite natural that he should wish to 
kill the Spaniard who had dared to tarnish his repu- 

Soto Mayor accepted the challenge. On the ap- 
pointed day, Bayard, although suffering from ague, 
was the first to reach the spot fixed upon for the duel, 
mounted on a magnificent charger, and clad in white. 
He sent to inform the Spaniard of his arrival, but the 
latter declined to fight on horseback, claiming the right 
of dictating the terms of the combat, and insisted upon 
fighting on foot. Bayard instantly consented, and 
Don Alonzo made appearance. 

As soon as Bayard saw him approaching, he fell on 
his knees, put up a prayer, kissed the ground with 
great humility, and then rose and advanced to meet his 

It does not appear that the Spaniard really believed 
that he would be called upon to fight for so stupid a 
cause, for his first words to the pious and bloodthirsty 
knight were : — 

^^ Senor de Bayardo, what do you want with me ?^^ 

^^ I want to defend my honour,^^ replied the Chevalier 
sans jpeur et sans rejproche. 

No doubt, Bayard drew at the same moment, and of 
course tlie Spaniard followed his example, and they set 
to. Soon, however. Bayard discovered that Don 
Alonzo was practising one of the tricks of the noble 


art, by instantly covering his face as soon as he had 
delivered his thrusts, which were parried. Bayard 
was equal to the occasion ; and when Don Alonzo 
made another thrust, instead of parrying in the usual 
way, he allowed the thrust to glance forward, and 
instantly drove his point into the throat of his oppo- 

Don Alonzo, with the Chevalier^s point sticking in 
his throat, immediately closed with his opponent, when 
a struggle ensued, in which both fell to the ground. 
In this position. Bayard drew his dagger, and thrust- 
ing it into the nose of Don Alonzo, exclaimed, " Sur- 
render, or you are a dead man/^ 

But it was all over with the unfortunate Spaniard ; 
he never uttered a word, dying on the spot. 

The chronicler assures us that Bayard was much 
grieved at the result, '^ for the good Chevalier would 
have given a hundred thousand crowns to have over- 
come the Spaniard alive '' — and this notwithstanding 
the cut-throat thrust he had delivered. "Neverthe- 
less,^^ continues the chronicler, " the Chevalier, thank- 
ful for the grace that God had vouchsafed him, fell 
upon his knees, thanked God most humbly, kissed the 
ground three times, and then dragging and delivering 
the 'dead body of his enemy to the second of the latter, 
he asked him "if he had done enough.^^ ^^ Rather 
too much, Senor de Bayardo, for the honour of Spain,^' 
replied the second. The good Chevalier coolly ob- 
serv^ed, " You know that I have a right to do as I like 


witli the body. However, I give it up to you, and I 
wish the result had been otherwise, — ^my honour being 
untarnished/' The Spaniards carried off their cham- 
pion, with lamentations, and the French escorted theirs 
with the sounds of clarions and trumpets/' Such was 
the chivalric duel between the Chevalier Bayard (sans 
peur et sans rejproche) and Don Alonzo de Soto Mayor. 

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Italy 
continued to be the teacher and exemplar of the 
nations in the art of killing people, and nowhere was 
the practice more rife than in Piedmont. All edicts, 
proclamations, and denunciations were of no avail 
against the practice of duelling, until Prince Melfe- 
CaraccioUi, the viceroy of Piedmont for Francis I., hit 
upon a scheme which was most successful in mitigat- 
ing the evil. The bridge over the Po at Turin was the 
favourite resort of duellists ; and the viceroy ordained 
that the only part of it on which they might fight was 
— the parapet, with the strict prohibition of attempt- 
ing to save any one who might fall into the river. 

Duels were frequent in Savoy, especially among the 
grandees of the land ; but one of them received a reply 
to a challenge, which was highly creditable to the wit 
and good sense of his offender. Amadeus V., called 
the Great, sent a challenge to Humbert II., who replied 
to his herald as foUows : — 

'^ My friend, tell your master that the virtue of a 
prince does not consist in strength of body ; and that 
if he wishes to boast so much of his strength, nerve. 


and vigour, I tell him that I have not a single bull 
which is not stronger and more vigorous than he can 
possibly be ; and, therefore, if he likes, Pll send him 
one to try." 

Vasconcellos and M. de Foulqueree. 

One of the most singular duels took place at Valetta, 
between a Spanish commander of the Knights of 
Malta, named Vasconcellos, and a French conunander 
of the same order, named M. de Foulquerre. The 
challenge ensued in consequence of the insolence of 
Foulquerre, in having presented the holy water (after 
the fashion in Italy) to a young lady entering the 
church, whom the Spanish knight was following. 

Although Foulquerre had been engaged in many 
duels, on this occasion he went to the meeting with 
some reluctance, as though he anticipated what would 
be the consequence. As soon, therefore, as his oppo- 
nent appeared, he said, ^^What, Sir; do you draw 
your sword upon a Good Friday! Hear me. It is 
now six years since I confessed my manifold sins, and 
my conscience reproaches me so keenly that three days 
hence — " But the Spaniard was inexorable, instantly 
drew, pressed upon him, and soon laid him prostrate 
with a home thrust. ^'What, on a Good Friday! 
May Heaven forgive you \" exclaimed Foulquerre, ad- 
ding, "Bear my sword to Tete Foulques, and let a 
hundred masses be said for the repose of my soul, in 
the chapel of the castle.'^ The Spanish commander 


paid no attention to the dying man^s request, and on 
reporting the circumstance to the chapter of his order, 
according to the rules, he was subjected to no punish- 
ment ; on the contrary, he was promoted. 

But it happened that every Friday night after the 
duel, he dreamt he heard his enemy enjoining him to 
^^ bear his sword to Tete Foulques,'' 

Where on earth this Tete Foulques was he knew not. 
At length, being still pestered with the horrid dream 
every Friday night, he learned from some French 
knights of his order that Tete Foulques was an old 
castle, four leagues from Poictiers, in the centre of a 
forest remarkable for dreadful events ; the castle con- 
taining in its halls many curious collections, among 
which was the armour of the famed knight Foulques 
Taillefer, that is, being interpreted, Faux, the iron^ 
cutter, with the arms of all the enemies he had slain in 
single combat ; and, from time immemorial, it appeared 
that all his successors of many generations deposited in 
this armoury the weapons which they used either in 
war or in private conflict. 

Here, then, was the apparent explanation of the 
mysterious dream, and the means of solving the pro- 
blem it perpetually suggested. Vasconcellos, having 
received this information, resolved to obey the injunc- 
tion of the deceased, and set out for Poictiers with the 
sword of his antagonist. 

Arriving at the castle, he found no one but the 
porter and the chaplain. 


To the man of God lie communicated tte purport of 
his visit. Thereupon he was introduced into the ar- 
moury of the weird old castle, and on each side of the 
chimney he beheld full-length portraits of .Foulques 
Taillefer, before mentioned, and his worthy wife, 
Isabella de Lusignan. The sturdy old seneschal was 
armed cap-a-pie, that is, from head to foot, and above 
him were suspended all the arms of his vanquished 
foes, as before stated. 

Enough here — yi the complete accomplishment of 
his dream — to render our worthy prior devotional; 
and so he laid down the sword, and proceeded to tell 
his beads with reverence and compunction until night- 
fall. But lo ! as the shades of evening fell, and the 
place got darker, he beheld the eyes and the mouths 
of the seneschal and his wife in motion ; and he dis- 
tinctly heard the old iron-cutter say to his wife, " What 
dost thou think, my dear, of the audacity of this 
Spaniard, who comes to dwell and fill his belly in my 
castle, after having killed the commander, without 
allowing him time to confess his sins ?" 

To this the lady replied, in a very shrill voice, " I 
think, master, that the Spaniard acted with disloyalty 
on that occasion, and should not be allowed to depart 
without the challenge of your glove. ^^ 

Here was a prospect ! The man who never felt fear 
before, now trembled like a scared infant, and rushed 
or staggered to the door of the hall. But, alas I it was 
locked j and whilst in that fix, the redoubtable senes- 


chal (in the picture) flung his heavy gauntlet at his 
face, and brandished his ponderous sword. 

The dread necessity of the dilemma nerved the 
Spaniard once more, as of old, and being thus com- 
pelled to defend himself, he snatched up the very 
sword he had deposited, and falling on his phantom- 
antagonist, ran him through the body (or fancied he 
did) , and on the instant he felt a stab from a burning 
weapon under the heart, and fainted away. 

■X- 3jC 3jC Sf^ "X" 

When he recovered from his swoon, he found him- 
self in the porter^ s lodge, to which he had been carried, 
but free from any injury. 

He departed, and returned to Spain ; but ever after, 
on every Friday night, he received a similar burning 
wound from the visionary Taillefer ; nor could any act 
of devotion, or payment of money to friars or priests, 
relieve him from this horrible phantom. So much for 
fighting a duel on a Good Friday !* 

At all times ItaUan duels were attended with cir- 
cumstances of ferocity and treachery; and to avoid 

* This phantom scene reminds us of Byron's terrors on a similar 
occasion. His great uncle had killed Mr. Chaworth in a dreadful 
duel ; but still the two families were friendly, and Byron not 
only visited the Chaworths at Annesley, but also fell deeply in 
love with the daughter of the slain or murdered man. He used 
at first, though offered a bed at Annesley, to return every night 
to Newstead to sleep, alleging as a reason that he was *' afraid of 
the family pictures of the Chaworths ;" that he fancied " they 
had taken a grudge to him on account of the duel, and would 


publicity, these meetings frequently took place behind 
hedges and ditches, and in woods and solitary places. 

The practice of having seconds, who were, in former 
times, to share the dangers of the principals, originated 
in Italy. Brantome tells us the story of a Neapolitan 
gentleman who, being called out, killed his antagonistr 
He was about to leave the field, when the second of 
the deceased stopped him, and observed that he could 
not allow him to depart until he had avenged his fallen 
friend. To this proposal the gentleman very politely 
acceded, and killed him. Another then stepped for- 
ward, and with much courtesy said, that, if the prin- 
cipal did not feel himself tired, he would be delighted 
to have a share in the honour ; but proposed, if he felt 
fatigued, to postpone the meeting until the following 
day. The principal was too courteous to disappoint 
him, and told him that he did not feel in the least 
tired; and as he was warm, and his hand in, they 
might just as well lose no time in gratifying his fancy. 
They set to, and in a few lounges the amateur^s 

come down from their frames at night to haunt him." It may 
possibly have been the recollection of these pictures that sug- 
gested to him the following lines in the * Siege of Corinth*: — 

'* Like the figures on arras that gloomily glare, 
Stirred by the breath of the wintry air, 
So seen by the dying lamp's fitful light, 
Lifeless, but life-like and awful to sight ; 
As they seem, through the dimness, about to come down 
From the shadowy wall where their images frown." 

Moore, Works of Lord JS^ron, vol. i. 


corpse was stretched by the side of his two departed 

Brantome states that, when he was at Milan, he took 
fencing lessons for a month under a celebrated master 
named Trappe, and during this period not a day 
passed but he witnessed at least twenty quadrilles 
of persons fighting in the streets, and leaving the 
dead bodies of their adversaries on the pavement. 
There were also numerous bravoes who let themselves 
out to hire to fight for those who did not feel disposed 
to risk their own lives. The same practice prevailed 
in Spain. This mode of fighting was called the ven- 
detta, and the hired combatants termed bandeleri. 

But this kind of vendetta, or ^^ vengeance/^ must not 
be confounded with the practice under the same name 
which prevails or prevailed in Corsica, and which sug- 
gested to Alexander Dumas one of his most popular 
figments, ^ The Corsican Brothers.' 

In that country an injury became an everlasting 
cause of conflict, personal or general, as long as any 
representatives of the hostile families existed. End- 
less duels or reprisals followed each other, and hatred 
was eternal. The last winner was the fortunate aven- 
ger of his family. Horrible instances are suflSciently 
vouched for, and one of them will doubtless serve to 
give an idea of the institution. 

It is related that a grandee being rejected by a 
high lady as her lover, sought revenge on her relatives. 
There were numerous fights, with varying results on 



both sides of the quarrel, till at length the lady took 
the old sinner prisoner and shut him up in a sort of 
den, like a wild beast, in her castle. Not content with 
this, she added an inconceivable refinement to her 
cruelty by presenting herself every day before the cage 
of the old man in the state by which the goddess 
Venus is said to have won the apple in the contest of 
personal beauty. ^^ Look at me,^^ she would say ; " do 
you think that one so beautiful as I am could possibly 
wed such an ugly old beast as you are V^ 

Day after day thus she excited and thus she taunted 
the old man in the cage ; but there is counting without 
the host, and gold is omnipotent in this blessed world. 
The lady^s waiting-maid was bribed to favour the es- 
cape of her old enemy, and one day when she went, 
as was her wont, in that tempting condition, to taunt 
and reproach the old man, she found herself caught 
up at once and carried off, just as she was, to the old 
man, who was waiting to take his vendetta. The sequel 
is almost too horrible to tell. Not only was she brutally 
outraged by her old enemy, but she was exposed in a 
public place to receive the outrages of all who might 
wish to share the infamy. 

Duels have always been unknown in the Roman 
States. The fact is, at any rate, something in favour 
of the Papal government.* 

* If this is to be attributed to the absence of spirit and pluck 
among the Pontifical Eomans, recent events have shown that a 
new leaf has been turned over. Voltaire said that the Pope's 
soldiers always mounted guard and fought with umbrellas, the 


Perhaps Malta was the only country in the world 
where duelling was permitted by law. As their whole 
establishment was originally founded on the wild and 
romantic principles of chivalry, they were ever thought 
too consistent with these principles to abolish duelling, 
but they laid it under such restrictions as greatly to 
lessen its danger. These are curious enough; the 
duellists were obliged to decide their quarrel in one 
particular street of the city, and if they presumed to 
fight anywhere else, they were liable to the rigour of 
the law. But what is not less singular, they were 
obliged, under the severest penalties, to put up their 
swords when ordered to do so by a woman, a priest, or 
a knight. Under these limitations, in the midst of a 
great city, one would imagine it almost impossible 
that a duel could ever end in blood; however, this 
is not the case. A cross is always painted on the 
wall opposite the spot where a knight has been 
killed, in commemoration of his fall. ^' We counted,^^ 

only arms they knew how to handle ; and soldat du Pape, as 
every one knows, meant anything but a compliment for those 
to whom the designation was applied. It is only fair to admit, 
that whatever may be thought of the temporal power, the pon- 
tiQcals, in their recent contest with Garibaldi's Redshirts, have 
proved that they know how to use other weapons with effect, 
and that they did not throw them down and run away at the 
first sight of their enemy, as was confidently anticipated. This 
is a modem *' development " not without significance. Perhaps, 
however, we must remember that the French were behind them, 
and so, between the two sets of bayonets, there was no help for 
it but to fight. 


says Brydone,* '^twenty of these crosses. •About 
three months ago, [a.d. 1770] two knights had a 
dispute at a billiard-table. One of them, after giving 
a great deal of abusive language, added a blow, but 
to the astonishment of all Malta (in whose annals 
there is not a similar instance), after so great a provo- 
cation, he refused accepting a challenge. The chal- 
lenge was repeated, and, though warned of the con- 
sequences, still he refused to fight. He was therefore 
condemned to make the amende honorable in the great 
church of St. Jerome, fifty-five days successively, then 
to be confined in a dungeon, without light, for five 
years, after which he is to remain a prisoner in the 
castle for life. The unfortunate young man who re- 
ceived the blow is also in disgrace, as he has not had 
an opportunity of wiping it out in the blood of his ad- 
versary. This has been looked upon as a very singular 
aflfair, and is still one of the principal topics of conver- 
sation. The first part of the sentence has already been 
executed, and the poor wretch is now in. his dungeon, 
nor is it thought that any abatement will be made in 
what remains. If the legislature in other countries 
punished with equal rigour those that do fight, as it 
does iu this those that do not, I believe we should soon 
have an end of duelUng." 

2. Spain. 

The early annals of Spanish valour abound with 
* ' Tour through Sicily and Malta.' 


instances of chivalrous encounter and duellings which 
was sanctioned, and even encouraged, by various laws, 
more especially iu Arragon and Castile. If, in 1165, 
the kiug and council of Arragon abolished the prac- 
tice, yet we find, in 1519, the practice had become 
so frequent that Charles V. issued an edict against 

The perpetual feud existing between the Moors and 
the Christians, and the general disorder of the king- 
dom were sufficient to account for the frequency of 
personal conflicts, — ^right or might asserting claims that 
could not be established by law and executive govern- 

Beligion was mixed up with the practice. In 1491, 
a young Spaniard fought and killed a Moor, when 
Ferdinand, as a reward for his valour, authorized him 
to bear as his motto the letters of the Ave Maria, The 
sign of the cross was made amidst the click of arms. 
Men cut each other^s throats ferociously between two 
paternosters, Ignatius of Loyola, the celebrated founder 
of the great Order of the Jesuits, had challenged a Moor 
to deadly combat, for denying the divinity of Christ. 
This was, of course, before his " conversion ^^ from the 
world's ways. Afterwards he discovered a much better 
method of prevailing over men than the argument of 
force ; and his followers carried out his views so well 
and successfully that the name '^ Jesuit ^' and '^ Jesuit- 
ism '^ became synonymous with ^^ deceiver'^ and 
^' deceit,'^ in the opinion of their discomfited opponents, 

VOL. I. o 


and in the dictionaries of all languages down to the 
present day. 

It appears that both in Spain and in Portugal duel- 
ling ceased to bo common at an early date^ — thanks to 
the severity of the edicts against it, — and the good 
sense of the people, perhaps laughed out of the prac- 
tice by Cervantes, in his 'Don Quixote,' from its 
apparent connection with the absurdities of knight- 

3. Germany. 

In early times, in Germany, duels occasionally took 
place, but they were never so frequent as in France; 
" for,^^ as Madame de Stael observed, '^ the Germans 
do not possess the same vivacity and petulance as the 
French nation, nor do they partake of the same notions 
of courage, public opinion being much more severe on 
the want of probity and fair dealing.^' The earlier 
instances of personal conflict partake more of the 
character of chivalry than modem duelling. Thus, 
in the year 1043, the Empress Gunehilde, wife of 
Henry III., and daughter of Canute, king of England, 
was accused of adultery. " No one,'' says La Colom- 
biere, '^ could be found to act as her champion, on 
account of the gigantic form of her accuser, named 
Rodinger. But the empress at last found a cham- 
pion in a little English boy, whom she had brought 
from her country. This youth, by a divine miracle, 
being unable to strike higher, cut the hamstrings of 


the slanderer, which was considered a public proof of 
the innocence of the empress/^ According to the 
same authority, Gunehilde, in spite of her victory, 
retired to a convent, where she died, and was subse- 
quently canonized and numbered among the saints. 

The same Henry III., her royal consort, challenged 
Henry I., king of France, to settle, arms in hand, some 
question of territory pending between them, but the 
latter declined the honour. 

Venceslas I., Duke of Bohemia, who was canonized, 
was challenged by Radislas, and entered the lists 
covered with a light robe, under which he retained his 
sackcloth or hair shirt, for he was much given to asce- 
ticism and devotion. Radislas made his appearance 
armed at all points, lance in rest, and with a huge 
sword dangling at his side. He was on the point of 
rushing upon the duke, when he beheld two angels in 
the place of his pious opponent, and heard a voice 
crying out "Stop!^^ He immediately fell upon his 
knees and begged pardon. It appears that the two 
angels with flaming swords, who on this occasion pre- 
served Venceslas from the lance of Radislas, must have 
been elsewhere engaged when the poor duke was sub- 
sequently stabbed to the heart, in a church, by his 
own brother. 

4. Northern Europe. 

According to the ancient law of Sweden, if a man 
told another that he was inferior to any other man, or 



had not the heart of a man, and the other replied, '^ I 
am as good a man as yourself/^ a meeting was to fol- 
low. If the aggressor came to the ground, but did not 
find the oflFended, the latter was to be considered dis- 
honoured, and held unfit to give testimony in any 
cause, and deprived, moreover, of the power to make a 
will. But if, on the other hand, the insulted party 
came forward, and the oflFending party did not make 
his appearance, the former was to .call him aloud by 
name three times, and if he did not appear, make a 
mark upon the ground, when the offender would be 
held as false and infamous. When both parties met, 
and the offender was killed, his antagonist had to pay 
a half compensation for his death ; but if the aggressor 
succumbed, his fate was to be attributed to temerity 
and an unguarded expression, therefore his death called 
for no compensation. In Norway, any gentleman who 
refused satisfaction to another was said to have lost his 
law, and could not be admitted as evidence upon oath. 
According to the Danish laws, it was held that force is 
a better arbiter in contestations than words, and in 
the judicial combats, which frequently arose on the 
slightest provocation, no champion was allowed to fight 
in the cause of another, however feeble or unskilled in 
arms he might be.* It would be difficult to cite a 
single example of the employment of a champion in 
Scandinavia, unless we admit the authority of a Danish 
ballad, in which, according to the ordinary intrigue of 

* Millingen ; Fougeroux de Campignuelles. 



romances, a woman is righted and justified by the 
arms of her lover from a calumnious accusation. Nor 
is it less remarkable that, in conformity with the Teu- 
tonic custom, women were refused the right of having 
champions. A woman challenged by a man was 
obliged to fight in person. But it must be admitted 
that the mode of fighting prescribed in such cases 
tended to equalize the combat, to a certain extent at 
least. The man was planted, as it were, in a hole dug 
in the ground, and deep enough to enclose him up to 
the middle. This gave a great advantage to the 
woman, who could vault round him, and belabour his 
head with a strap or sling loaded with a heavy stone 
at the end. The man was armed with a club ; but if 
in aiming at the woman he missed three times, so that 
the club struck the ground three times, he was de- 
clared vanquished. 

The Scandinavian combatants frequently selected 
small islands for their meetings, in order to prevent 
either of the parties from fleeing ; these islands were 
called HolmSy and the duels Holmsgang. Sometimes a 
hide, seven ells long, was spread upon the ground ; at 
others, the lists were enclosed by circular stakes, or 
marked off with stones, in order to circumscribe their 
limits. Whoever stepped beyond this barrier, or was 
beaten out of the circle, was considered conquered. 
The kamping matches of our Norfolk and Suffolk pea- 
santry are traces of these encounters, which were 
called kempfs.* 

* Millingen. 



5. Belgium. 

In the year 1554 Jean de Henin-Lietard, Seigneur 
de Boiissu, in Hainault, being at a bal masque at the 
Court of Charles V., challenged to a meeting on the 
following morning a mask who had tormented him 
with incessant raillery during the entire evening. " I 
shall be there, Boussu,^^ replied the mask, still chaffing 

Jean de Henin, on the following morning, went to 
the place appointed, and there found waiting for him 
a chevalier armed cap-a-piSj who, raising his vizor, ex- 
claimed : — '^ Count de Boussu, did I not tell you I would 
be here V 

The count was petrified with astonishment. The 
chevalier was no other than the Emperor Charles V. 

Instantly he fell at the feet of the emperor and re- 
quested him to give him permission to adopt as the 
motto of his arms the very words used by his imperial 
majesty : Je y serai, Boussu, "\ shall be there, 
Boussu.^' The emperor consented and the motto con- 
tinued to figure on the arms of the challenger^ s descen- 

A Duel op Twenty against Twenty. 

Shortly after the capture of Fort Saint- Andre by 
the Prince Maurice of Nassau, the Marquis de Breaute, 
a captain of cavalry, had a quarrel with a lieutenant 


named Lekerbitkem. Breaute sent him a challenge, 
offering to fight either five against five, ten against 
ten, or twenty against twenty. It was agreed to fight 
twenty against twenty. They came upon the field; 
Breaute and his party having white plumes, Lekerbit- 
kem and his companions being distinguished by red 

Breaute forthwith levelled at his opponent, shot and 
killed him on the spot, and charged his opponents with 
such fury that he brought down five of them, one of 
them being the brother of Lekerbitkem. But he was 
not well supported by his friends, who took to flight 
at the second onset, and left Breaute in the midst of 
fifteen, who managed to seize him and carried him off, 
together with a cousin of his and two others, to Bois- 
le-Duc, the head- quarters of the governor Grobben- 
donck. The governor happened to be at the gate of 
the town waiting for the return of his lieutenant, and 
as he was not forthcoming, he asked where he was. 
On being told that he and his brother were killed, he 
exclaimed, ^^ Indeed ! Then why have you not killed 
these fellows V The words were no sooner spoken 
than executed. His attendants rushed upon Breaute, 
his cousin, and the others, and slaughtered them in 
cold blood. 

6. Iceland. 

Duelling was established as an institution even in 
this Ultima Thule of the Ancients. Amgrimus Josas, 



an astronomer of Iceland, the pupil of Tycho Brake, 
and author of a history of Iceland, published in 1643, 
tells us that duels took place in that island in former 
times, on account of disputed inheritances and betting. 
The last and the most memorable of Icelandic duels 
occurred between two poets, respectively named Gunn- 
lang, " serpent-tongue,^^ and Rafn, the interpretation of 
which is not given. They fought for the hand of the 
beautiful Helga, with golden locks, and both fell in the 
encounter. The fate of these young lovers excited 
universal commiseration, and an edict was passed, in 
one of the largest popular assemblies ever known in 
Iceland, and with the concurrence of all the wise men 
of the country, prohibiting and completely abolishing 
duelling in perpetuity. 





1. France. 

About the commencement of the period to which I am 
referring, or immediately preceding it, there figured in 
France an English nobleman and duellist. Lord Her- 
bert of Cherbury, then our ambassador at the French 
Court, to whom I have already alluded, as the autho- 
rity who stated that there was scarcely a Frenchman 
deemed worth looking on who had not killed his man 
in a duel. 

To show the prevalence of duelling in France, and 
the esteem in which duellists were held, he relates the 
case of a M. Mennon, who, being desirous to marry a 
niece of M. Disancour, thought to be an heiress, was 
thus answered by him, — " My friend, it is not time yet 
to marry. I will tell you what you must do if you will 
be a brave man. You must first kill in single combat 
two or three men ; then marry, and beget two or three 


children ; and then the world will neither have gained 
nor lost by jon," It may be interesting to know that 
this Disancour had fought three or four gallant duels 
in his time; but whether he made the compensation 
which he suggested does not appear. 

Lord Herbert relates another anecdote, which shows 
the high consideration in which duellists were held at 
this epoch by the fair sex, who are supposed to influ- 
ence the conduct of the other sex by their taste and 
opinion, as much as kings and queens are said to do 
by their morals and demeanour. 

'^ All things being ready for the ball, and every one 
being in his place, and I myself next to the queen, ex- 
pecting when the dancers would come in, one knocked 
at the door somewhat louder than became, I thought, 
a very civil person. When he came in, I remember 
there was a sudden whisper among the ladies, saying, 
' C'est Monsieur Balaguy I' Whereupon I also saw 
the ladies and gentlemen, one after another, invite 
him to sit near them; and, what is more, when one 
lady had his company awhile, another would say, — 
^ You have enjoyed him long enough, I must have him 
now.^ At which bold civility of them, though I was 
astonished, yet it added to my wonder that his person 
could not be thought at most but ordinary handsome ; 
his hair, which was cut very short, half grey; his 
doublet, but of sackcloth, cut to his skin; and his 
breeches only of plain grey cloth. 

'^ Informing myself by some standers by who he 

DUELS FROM 1660 TO 1750. 203 

was, I was told that he was one of the gallantest men 
in the world, as having killed eight or nine men in 
single fight, and that for this reason the ladies made so 
much of him, — it being the manner of all French wo- 
men to cherish gallant men, as thinking they could not 
make so much of any else with the safety of their 

Notwithstanding this reckless spirit of duelling that 
prevailed in France, Lord Herbert — if we may believe 
his somewhat gasconading account of himself — found 
some difficulty in bringing various noblemen to the 
field. At any rate, the following account gives a fair 
picture of the times : — 

" It happened one day that a daughter of the Duchess 
de Ventadour, of about ten or eleven years of age, go- 
ing one evening from the castle to walk in the mea- 
do\rs, myself, with divers French gentlemen, attended 
her, and some gentlewomen that were with her. This 
young lady, wearing a knot of riband on her head, a 
French cavalier took it suddenly and fastened it to 
his hatband. The young lady, oflFended, herewith de- 
mands her riband ; but he refusing to restore it, the 
young lady, addressing herself to me, said, — ^Mon- 
sieur, I pray you, get my riband from that gentleman/ 
Hereupon going towards him, I courteously, with my 
hat in my hand, desired him to do me the honour, that 
I might deliver the lady her riband or bouquet again ; 
but he roughly answering me, — ^ Do you think I will 
give it to you, when I refused it to her V I replied,-— 


^ Nay, then. Sir, I will make you restore it by force/ 
Whereupon, also, putting on my hat, and reaching at 
his, he to save himself ran away; and after a long 
course in the meadow, finding that I had almost over- 
taken him, he turned short, and, running to the young 
lady, was about to put the riband in her hand, when I, 
seizing upon his arm, said to the young lady, — ' It was 
I who gave it/ ' Pardon me,' quoth she, ' it is he that 
gives it me/ I then said, — ^ Madam, I will not con- 
tradict you ; but, if he dare say that I did not constrain 
him to give it, I will fight with him/ 

" The French gentleman answered nothing there- 
unto for the present, and we conducted the lady again 
to the castle. The next day I desired Air. Aurelian 
Townshend to tell the French cavalier that he must 
confess that I constrained him to restore the riband or 
fight with me. But the gentleman, seeing him unwill- 
ing to accept of this challenge, went out from the 
place, whereupon I following him ; some of the gentle- 
men that belonged to the constable taking notice 
hereof acquainted him therewith, who, sending for the 
French cavalier, checked him well for his sauciness in 
taking the riband away from his grandchild, and after- 
wards bade him depart his house ; and this was all I 
ever heard of the gentleman, with whom I proceeded 
in this manner because I thought myself obliged there- 
unto by the oath taken when I was made Knight of the 

This conscientious Knight of the Bath was, by his 

DUELS FROM 1650 TO 1750. 205 

own account, constantly getting into hot water on ac- 
count of the ladies, their top-knots, and ribbons, and 
he tells us of another instance, — this time in England, 
— when a Scotch gentleman took a ribbon from a 
maid of honour and refused to give it up ; he not only- 
caught him by the neck and almost threw him down, 
but also offered to fight him and went to the place ap- 
pointed, near Hyde Park ; the duel, however, being 
interrupted by order of the Lords of the Council. 

This pugnacious nobleman assures us, however, in 
spite of the numerous quarrels which, by his own 
showing, he evidently sought, — if not compelled by 
his oath as Knight of the Bath, — "that, although I 
lived in the armies and courts of the greatest princes 
of Christendom, yet I never had a quarrel with man 
for mine own sake, so that, although in mine own na- 
ture I was ever choleric and hasty, yet I never, without 
occasion given, quarrelled with anybody; for my 
friends often have I hazarded myself, but never yet 
drew my sword for my own sake singly/^ 

This solemn averment notwithstanding, he appears 
to have picked a quarrel with the redoubtable M. Ba- 
laguy before mentioned, so much prized by the ladies ; 
perhaps the duellistic laurels of the cavalier would not 
let him sleep in comfort. Accordingly he tells us : — 
" I remembered myself of the bravado of M. Balaguy, 
and coming to him, told him that I knew how brave a 
man he was, and that, as he had put me to one trial of 
daring when I was last with him in the trenches, I 



would put him to another/' One would suppose that 
some grand cause of battle would be propounded after 
this flourish, but his lordship goes on in the vein of 
Don Quixote de la Mancha, as follows : — ^' And saying 
that I had heard he had a fair mistress, and that the 
scarf he wore was her gift, I would maintain I had a 
worthier mistress than he, and that I would do as much 
for her sake as he or any one else durst do for his/' 

Doubtless, Balaguy thought him mad ; at any rate 
he declined the challenge with a joke of a somewhat 
indelicate nature, whereupon his lordship told him, 
" that he spoke more like a paillard than a cavalier/' 
Even this insult was considered innocent by the re- 
ceiver, as nothing more was heard of the matter. We 
may rest assured that Lord Herbert was set down as a 
crack brained knight errant, who served to enliven so- 
ciety as much as any clown does the circus, and there- 
fore that it would be a pity to curtail his mission in 
this dull world. 

It is impossible to doubt the courage of Balaguy, 
and as for the first affair described, it is very probable 
that the "French cavalier," whom his lordship pur- 
sued and insulted, was a favourite of the precious 
young lady, who only sought to embroil him with the 
British hero, and that the Frenchman knew his man 
too well to consider the whole business anything but a 
childish joke. 

But it was at the siege of Rees that his lordship 
must be set down as an English Don Quixote. A 

DUELS FROM 1660 TO 1760. 207 

trumpeter came forth from the Spanish army with a 
challenge from a Spanish cavalier to the eflFect that if 
any cavalier would fight a single combat for the sake 
of his mistress, the said Spaniard would meet him 
upon the assurance of a field. Lord Herbert was the 
only madman found to accept the defiance. 

The Prince of Orange took cognizance of the affair, 
and Lord Herbert himself tells us the admirable lesson 
read to him by the prince thereanent. " His Excel- 
lency/^ he says, " looking earnestly upon me, told me 
he was an old soldier, and that he had observed two 
sorts of men who used to send challenges of this kind ; 
one of them, who, having lost perchance some part of 
their honour in the field before the enemy, would re- 
cover it again by a single fight ; the other was of those 
who sent it only to discover whether our army had in 
it men affected to give trial of themselves in this way. 
Howbeit, if this man was a person without exception 
to be taken against him, he said, there was none he 
knew upon whom he would sooner venture the honour 
of his army than myself. Hereupon, by his Excel- 
lency's permission, I sent a trumpet to the Spanish 
army, when another trumpet came to me from Spinola, 
saying that the challenge was made without his con- 
sent and therefore he would not permit it.'' 

Not content with this termination of the affair, Lord 
Herbert proceeded to the Spanish camp in quest of 
the challenger. Spinola received him with great 
courtesy, and, instead of a battle, the visit ended with 


a festive dinner ; after whicli, lie parted from his noble 
host with a particular request to be allowed to fight 
the infidels if ever he undertook a Crusadsy when he 
would be the first man who died in the quarrel. It is 
evident that Lord Herbert was bom after his time. 

LuDOvic DB Piles. 

Ludovic de Piles was a famous cut-throat of this pe- 
riod. Soon after the death of Louis XIH. he was on a 
journey to Paris, accompanied by his elder brother, Paul. 
Having reached Valence in the evening, they entered 
a tavern and called for supper. The host replied that 
he had only eggs and cheese to oflfer them. 

^^ Oh, indeed ! And pray, for whom are you pre- 
paring that splendid roast there V^ 

Oh, for four officers,^^ replied mine host. 
Just ask the gentlemen to permit two famished 
travellers to share their repast,^^ said Ludovic de 

The host went on his errand, but shortly returned 
from the officers with a coarse and unmannerly refusal. 

The two brothers partook of their scanty supper, 
and went to bed in a room separated from that of the 
officers by a thin partition. Paul soon fell asleep ; not 
so Ludovic. He could not forget the discourtesy of 
the four officers, and kept munching or twisting his 
moustaches, brimful of wrath. At length, however, 
the day^s fatigue began to tell upon his nerves ; but 
just as he was falling off to sleep, he heard a roar of 



laughter proceeding from the next room. He listened, 
and discovered that they were talking of himself and 
Paul, saying " what a capital joke it was to send those 
fellows to bed on a supper of eggs and cheese/^ 

On the following morning the two brothers De Piles 
set off to continue their journey. About a mile from 
Valence, Ludovic stopped suddenly, and feeling in his 
pocket, exclaimed, ^^ Oh ! I have forgotten my purse 
under my pillow. Go on, 1^11 go back for it, and over- 
take you for dinner.^' 

He returned to Valence, went to the tavern, and pro- 
ceeded at once to the room occupied by the oflBcers. 

" Gentlemen,'* said he, ^^ I am one of the two travel- 
lers whom you rather unpolitely reftised to permit to 
share your supper last night. You had a perfect right 
to do so. I have nothing to say on that score. But 
the case is different with regard to the jokes you 
thought proper to crack at our expense. My brother 
was asleep, and did not hear them. As for myself, I 
lost not a word of them. I think them execrable, and 
demand satisfaction from all four of you.'* 

Nothing was more natural, and the gallant officers 
signified their assent to the reasonable request. The 
five parties soon found themselves in a field hard by, 
the officers doubtless imagining that one of them at 
least would be able to make their joke still more prac- 
tical. It turned out otherwise, however. Ludovic 
laid all four of them in succession upon the ground, 
mounted his horse, and rejoined his brother at the 

VOL. I. P 


hour appointed. He assured him that he had suc- 
ceeded in finding his purse, but said not a word of the 
" change ^^ he had given the officers. 

When the travellers arrived at Paris, Paul presented 
himself at an audience of Cardinal Mazarin, who said 
to him, as soon as they were alone, — 

"What! Are you and your brother actually in 
Paris V 

" Yes ! Monseigneur.^^ 

" Why, the man must be mad to show himself here 
after what has happened at Valence \" 

" I don^t understand you, Monseigneur.^' 

" What ! You know nothing about it V* 

" Indeed, I do not, Monseigneur.^^ 

"Why, don^t you know that he has killed four 

" I assure you, Monseigneur, that we were together 
throughout the whole journey from Valence to Paris.^^ 

" Ah, bah ! But I tell you he has killed four officers 
at Valence. I am sure of it.^^ 

" Ah ! mon Lieu ! Now, I remember. He left me 
to return for his purse. ^^ 

" Well ! He challenged four officers, and killed 
them all. Tell him not to show himself until he is as- 
sured that the matter will not be investigated.^' 

In effect, the affair was hushed up, Ludovic having 
a reliable friend in the cardinal, and being otherwise in 
favour at court. Such a desperate character might al- 
ways be useful at a time when the summary way of 


getting rid of obnoxious individuals was part of the 
machinery of the executive. 

Malherbe and Ludovic de Piles. 

This miscreant poignarded and killed the son of 
Malherbe, the celebrated French writer, and in spite of 
his great age — seventy-three — ^the old man insisted 
upon avenging the murder. Of course the idea was 
absurd in every way, and Malherbe was persuaded by 
his friends to accept ten thousand crowns, which Lu- 
dovic oflTered in compensation for the loss of his son, 
instead of attempting to cross swords with such a iiery 

^^Well,^^ said Malherbe, ^^I will take your advice. 
I will take the money as I am compelled to do so ; but 
1 protest that I shall not touch a sou of it. I shall 
apply it to the erection of a mausoleum to my son.^^ 
An odd idea, certainly, and more suggestive of the 
feelings of the poet than the father. 

The Celebrated Abbe de Eance, or Eetz, as Duellist. 

At that epoch, churchmen graduated in the Scienza 
Cavalleresca, Ignatius of Loyola had been a duellist 
before he founded the Order of the Jesuits, as pre- 
viously stated, and the Abbe de Ranee had been the 
same, but probably to a much greater extent, before 
he founded or reformed the Order of the Trappists. 
The future reformer of La Trappe gave himself up 
heartily to the noble practice of duellistic arms, and 

V 2 


handled the sword like a Jamac^ a Balaguy, or a Lu- 
dovic de Piles. 

When appointed canon of Notre Dame at Paris, he 
was looking out for an opportunity of fleshing his 
sword. " I placed myself/' he says, ^^ in commnnica- 
tion with Attichi, the brother of the Countess de 
Maure, and requested him to command my services the 
first time he had to fight a duel. His duels were fre- 
quent, and I had not long to wait. He soon requested 
me to challenge for him Melbeville, colonel of the 
guards, and the second of the latter was Bassompierre, 
who has since died with great reputation, a major- 
general of the army. 

'^ We fought with sword and pistol behind the Mi- 
nimes, in the Bois de Vincennes. I wounded Bassom- 
pierre with my sword in the thigh, and in the arm with 
my pistol. Still, he contrived to disarm me by closing 
in upon me, when his superior strength had the advan- 
tage. Thereupon we proceeded to separate our prin- 
cipals, both of whom were seriously wounded. This 
duel made a great noise, but it did not produce the 
effect I apprehended. The authorities began an in- 
quiry, but it was stopped at the request of my rela- 
tives ; and thus I remained with my cassock* on, and 
with one duel.'' 

But the gallant Eetz did not stop short on such a 
fine road. Another opportunity of drawing his sword 
was oSered, and he seized it with avidity. He became 

* Priest's gown. 


enamoured with Madame du Cliastelet, ^^But/^ he 
says^ ^^as she was under the protection of the Coun 
d^Harcourt^ she treated me like a schoolboy, and even 
went to the length of doing so publicly, in the presence 
of M. d^Harcourt. 


" I called him to account, and sent him a challenge 
at the theatre. We fought on the following morning 
at a spot beyond the Faubourg Saint-Marcel. He 
closed upon me after slightly wounding me in the 
breast, got me down, and would infallibly have had all 
the advantage, if he had not dropped his sword in the 
struggle. I tried to shorten my hold of mine to stab 
him in the loin, but as he was much my senior and 
much stronger, he held my arm so fast under him that 
I could not execute my design. Thus we remained, 
without being able to do each other any harm, when 
he said, ^Let^s get up, it is not decent to cuff and 
hustle each other. You are a fine fellow {un joli gar- 
qon) ; I esteem you, and I make no difficulty, in the 
state in which we are, in telling you that I have not 
given you any cause for quarrelling with me.'' 

I should state, to do justice to the Abbe, that he 
amply atoned for these young extravagances in after- 
life. The shock at seeing his mistress dead and dis- 
figured by the small-pox, ^^ converted '' him; and, 
divesting himself of all his honours and emoluments, 
he plunged into a career of self-mortification and 
asceticism, equal as a penance to that of Simon Stylites 
on his pillar, or Jerome in the Wilderness, but infinitely 


more creditably to him as a man, even should we be as 
little pleased with his dreadfdl monasticism as with his 
ferocious duelling. 

The Poet Voiture a Duellist. 

Few braves fought more duels than Voiture. He 
fought as many as four times, — by day and by night, by 
moonlight and by torchlight. His first duel was at 
college, with the president ; his second with La Coste, 
on account of a gaming quarrel, and this was rather 
an odd aflfair, Voiture having thought proper to take 
off his peruke, which he hung upon a tree by way of 
a scarecrow, I imagine, to his antagonist. His third 
duel was at Brussels, with a Spaniard, by moonlight ; 
and his fourth and last was in the garden of the H6tel 
de Rambouillet, by torch-light, with Chavaroche, the 
steward of the house. Their quarrel arose from mutual 
aversion on account of three sisters at the hotel, who 
were pretty coquettes. Voiture insulted Chavaroche, 
and the latter, well knowing that Voiture would take 
advantage of any forbearance he might show, and ac- 
cuse him of cowardice, drew at once and wounded him 
in the thigh, whereat Voiture cried out as though 
mortally wounded. Some persons rushed in, and it 
was lucky that they did, for it is said that one of 
Voiture^s lacqueys was on the point of stabbing Cha- 
varoche from behind. 

Voiture would not admit that his antagonist had 
given him the wound, which, he protested, was in- 



flicted by a lacquey who separated them. Godeau, the 
Bishop of Grrasse^ composed an epigram on this duel, 
in which he described a hog fighting with a pike. The 
hog was Chavaroche, who was called the hog of the 
abbey, because he often visited the convent of Yeres, 
of which Mademoiselle de Eambouillet was abbess. 
Conde always addressed Voiture as '^ my compere the 
Pike,^^ from the occasion when the latter had written 
to him his hundred and forty-third letter, which is 
supposed to be written by a carp, and begins with 
these words : — '^ Mon compere le brochet,^' Voiture 
died soon after this exploit, not from his wound, but 
with the gout, which was rather incomprehensible, as 
he drank nothing but water.* 

* According to Bassompierre, wine, which revives the heart 
of other people, always gave Voiture a fit of fainting. It was, 
moreover, sarcastically suggested that Voiture, whose father 
was a winC'Seller, wanted to play the gentleman, and so what- 
ever reminded him of the jugs and counter of his young days, 
could not but weigh heavily on his heart. The following is the 
epigram of Baron Blot, alluding to the subject : — 

Quoi t Voiture, tu d^g^n^re ! 
Sors d'ici ! maugrebleu de toi ! 
Tu ne vaudras jamais ton p^re ; 
Tu ne vends du vin, ni n*en boi. 

" Oh, Voiture, thou art degenerate ! 
Get thee gone ! and pest be thine ! 
1 hou wilt ne*er be worth thy father's fate. 
Since thou neither sell'st nor drinkest wine." 

Voiture replied to this sarcasm with two poems in which he 
celebrates the amorous successes of a water-drinker, instead of 


This terrible bully, being challenged by a gentleman 
on whom he had written an epigram, replied as fol- 
lows: — "The game is not equal; you are big, I am 
little ; you are brave, I am a coward ; however, if you 
want to kill me — well, I consider myself deadJ 


Theophile de Viau and the Babon db Panat. 

Th^ophile de Viau, the poet, was totally diflferent in 
his demeanour to the fantastic ahd bombastic Voiture, 
but he was much less tolerant and no flatterer. It was 
this feature in his character which ultimately led to his 
duel, but in a very roundabout way, as will be evident 
by the sequel. 

It appears that a certain courtier had composed some 
stupid verses in honour of one of the ladies in waiting 
on the Queen mother, named Diana, whose good graces 
he wished to secure. Having shown the verses to the 
poet Theophile de Viau, and asked his opinion of them, 
the latter contented himself with smiling piteously. 
The courtier stormed as though he had received the 
cut of a whip, when Theophile intensified the wound 
by extemporizing and repeating the following quat- 
rain : — 

" Tu ne dois point nommer Diane 
La jeune beauts que tu sers ; 

calling out the contemptuous baron. The fact is, he much pre- 
ferred to cross the pen rather than the sword, and there can be 
no doubt that his ink-bottle inspired him with a courage that 
carried all before it, like many a writer (not in France) secure hy 
usage and conventional toleration. 



Car Diane prenait des cerfs, 
Et ta maitresse a pris un Sue. 


** Thou shouldst not give great Dian's name 
To the young beauty thou wouldst serve ; — alas ! 
What Dian caught were stags or deer, 
Whereas thy mistress, Sir, has caught an ass !" 

Dreadful was the revenge taken on the poet for his 
biting sarcasm. Theophile de Viau was the author of 
a work entitled ^ Parnasse Satyrique/ levelled against 
the devotees and perverse religionists of the day, and 
the courtier lent them all his influence to get Theophile 
burnt at the stake on the Place de Greve. In eflTect 
the poor fellow was condemned to be burnt alive j but 
as he preferred being burnt in eflBgy, he took to flight 
and found a secret refuge at the house of a Huguenot 
gentleman, an old friend of his, by name Baron .de 
Panat. But shortly after, the baron, calling to mind 
that he had been very nearly burnt alive on a former 
occasion as an accomplice for sheltering another pro- 
scribed individual, required Theophile to leave his 
house instantly. The poet remonstrated, but in vain, 
and at last exasperated to the highest degree, he drew 
his sword and defied the baron to eject him. There- 
upon the baron whipped out his toledo, and they 
set to with all imaginable fury. But the combatants, 
happening to be equal in the noble art, could not 
touch each other; at length, utterly fatigued with the 
exercise, they gave up and cordially embraced each 
other, the baron exclaiming, ^^Well, if I am to be 


burnt I shall not be hanged, and I cannot bum in 
better company." 

La Fontaine, the Fabulist, and Poignan. 

The good La Fontaine, as he has always been called, 
lived at the small town of Ch&teau-Thierry. He had 
a pretty wife and many friends, whom he was only too 
glad to see at all times. Small towns are usually filled 
with ill-natured gossips, and the small town of Cha- 
teau-Thierry did nothing but talk scandal about Ma- 
dame La Fontaine and a certain big trooper who con- 
stantly visited the house. Of course, he never had 
the least suspicion of anything of the sort, but a kind 
friend had the charity to enlighten him on this delicate 
but most detestable subject. 

^^ How can you permit that Poignan to come to your 
house every day ?" he asked the simple-minded La 

" And why should he not come ? He^s my best 

" Ah ! but that^s not what the public say, I can tell 
you. The fact is, they say he only comes to see Ma- 
dame La Fontaine." 

^^Then the public is wrong. But what am I to 

^^ Do ? Why, demand satisfaction sword in hand 
from the man who dishonours us." 

'^ Very well — I'll demand satisfaction.'^ 

On the following morning he went to Poignan, and. 


without any prefatory remarks, lie said to him, '^ Get 
up, and come out with me/' The old captain of Dra- 
goons dressed himself as quickly as he could, in utter 
bewilderment, and followed the fabulist without utter- 
ing a word. When they reached a spot which La 
Fontaine deemed convenient, he exclaimed, 

" My friend, we must fight/' 

And suiting the action to the word, he put himself 
in position. 

^^ Fight V asked Poignan, aghast with astonishment ; 
^^ but what have I done to offend you V^ 

"Oh, you know that better than I do.'' 

" Be if 1 do." 

'^ Nonsense, nonsense. We are losing time. Let's 

" But, my dear fellow, I am an old trooper, and you 
have never handled a sword !" 

" So much the worse for me ! The whole town of 
Ch&teau -Thierry requires me to fight you. Let's 

Poignan saw there was no help for it, drew, and 
placed himself en garde, smiling all the while, and at 
the first bout sent the poet's innocent weapon spinning 

in the air. 

" Now, my dear fellow," he said, " I trust you wiU 
explain the meaning of this fable, which passes my 

" Why, the public say that it is not on my account 
that you come to my house every day, but on account 
of my wife." 


"Ah! my friend, I should never have thought that 
such a crotchet could get into your brain, and I swear 
that you shall never see me in your house again/' 

^^ The deuce, I shan't ! No, no. I have done what 
the public required ; and now I insist upon your never 
discontinuing your visits to my house. If you do, I 
shall challenge you again.'' 

Thereupon the two friends re-entered the town, and 
did justice to a good breakfast, prepared by the un- 
conscious Madame La Fontaine, who had not the least 
idea of the honour her good husband had been doing 
her. Obviously the whole aflfair may be considered 
one of La Fontaine's best fables, to be entitled, ' The 
Public and Two Friends.'* 

M. DE Richelieu and the Baron de Ponteeiedeb. 

This Richelieu was a celebrated duellist, ever ready 
with his weapon, and unscrupulous in incurring the 
risks of being called to account for his misdemeanours. 
He carried off the mistress of the German Baron de 
Ponterieder, who challenged him, and the duel took 
place in the rear of the Invalides at Paris. The com- 
bat lasted only five minutes. Ponterieder was run 
through the breast, and expired, murmuring the name 

* The reader may suspect, "nevertheless and notwithstand- 
ing," as usual, that there must have been something wrong in 
Madame La Fontaine's conduct ; and Dr. Millingen alludes to 
the "irregularities" of the good man's wife; but the imputation 
does not really appear to be founded in the present case. 


of his lost mistress. Eichelieu was wounded under the 
tliird rib, but recovered to do more work of the kind. 

M. DB Richelieu and the Prince de Lixen. 

The cause of this duel was a hon mot uttered by the 
Prince de Lixen. Richelieu, who had been exceed- 
ingly fatigued during the day, was very much heated, 
and some drops of perspiration were observed on his 
forehead. The Prince de Lixen, who had been offended 
by several of the Duke^s witticisms, observed, ^^ that 
it was surprising he did not appear in a more suitable 
state, after having been purified by an admission to his 
family.'' This was an allusion to the fact that Riche- 
lieu had allied himself to the House of Lorraine by 
marrying the Princess Elisabeth Sophie, daughter of 
the Due de Guise, whereas his original name was sim- 
ply Vignerod. Such an insult could not be tolerated. 
The duel occurred at the siege of Philipsbourg, in the 
trenches, when he passed his sword through the body 
of the Prince de Lixen. 

It may be interesting to state that Richelieu's se- 
cond on this occasion was a young captain, the Marquis 
de la Pailleterie, who was the grandfather of the omni- 
potent novelist, Alexam^dre Dumas, one of the best spe- 
cimens of an African stock " amalgamated'' with the 
Caucasian or Lido-Buropean ^^ type of mankind." 

The Due de Guise and Colignt. 
The cause of this famous duel was a letter supposed 


to have fallen from tlie pocket of tlie Count de Coligny ; 
it was in a woman's hand-writing, and attributed to 
Madame de Longueville. 

The Duchess de Montbazon^ who led a gay life her- 
self, and therefore was only too glad to have other fitir 
sinners around her, had spread scandalous reports on 
the subject. Madame de Longueville was indignant 
at the attack on her virtue ; she required and received 
an apology. But she was not satisfied with this repa- 
ration. She incited Coligny to challenge one of the 
numerous favourites of Madame de Montbazon, and no 
less a personage than the Due de Guise, the grandson 
of the Balafri, 

It was on the morning of the 12th of December, 
1643, that M. D'Estrades went and challenged the Due 
de Guise on behalf of Coligny. The meeting was ar- 
ranged for the same day, on the Place Royale, at three 
o'clock. At the appointed hour the two adversaries 
were in presence. 

An expression uttered by the Due de Guise on this 
occasion lends unexpected grandeur to the scene, 
which brought together on the Place Royale, and for 
the last time placed in deadly struggle, the two most 
illustrious champions of the Wars of the League, in 
the person of their descendants. On taking his sword 
in hand. Guise said to Coligny, — 

^^We are on the point of deciding the ancient 
quarrels of our families, and it will be seen what dif- 
ference there is between the blood of Guise and that 
of Coligny.'' 



In the first onset Coligny lounged upon Guise and 
inflicted a severe wound, but, being weak, his rear leg 
failed him and he fell on his knee. Instantly Guise 
closed on him and placed his foot upon his sword. 
Although disarmed, Coligny refused to ask his life. 

Guise said to him, ^^ I don^t wish to kill you, but 
only to treat you as you deserve for having dared to 
challenge a prince of my birth without any cause for 
so doing,^^ and then he struck him with the flat of his 

Coligny, rendered furious by this indignity, made an 
eflfort, flung himself backwards, disengaged his sword, 
and recommenced the contest. Guise was slightly 
wounded in the shoulder and Coligny in the hand, 
when Guise, rushing in again upon Coligny, seized his 
sword, from which he received a slight cut in the hand, 
and wrenching it from his antagonist, gave him a 
frightful gash in the arm, which placed him hors de 
combat. Meanwhile, D^Estrades and Bridieu, the 
duke^s second, had been fighting with equal vigour, 
and both were seriously wounded. 

Such was the issue of this duel, said to be the last 
of the celebrated duels of the Place Royale. It made 
a great noise in Paris. The afiair was deferred to the 
parliament, but the proceedings of the law oflBcers 
were stopped by the influence of the Conde, and es- 
pecially on account of the deplorable condition of 
Coligny, the chief ofifender, since he was the chal- 


Madame de Longueville would not have been the 
Bister of the conqueror of Bocroy, a heroine worthy to 
be compared witb those of Spain, who beheld their 
lovers dying at their feet in tournaments, if she had 
not witnessed the combat between Guise and Coligny. 
It is stated that on the 12th of December, she was at 
an hotel on the Place Boyale, at the Duchesse de 
Rohan^s, and that, concealed behind a window curtain, 
she beheld the terrible contest. 

A strange fatality followed this duel. Admiral de 
CoUgny, the iUustrious victim of the massacije of St. 
Barthflemi, was murdered by the orders of the Due 
de Guise, and seventy years after, the grandson of the 
Admiral was killed by the grandson of the Duke ! 


The duel just described is of historic interest relat- 
ing to the time ; the followiug is of moral and social 
interest, and may deserve a little consideration from 
its general import. 

A Monsieur de Boisseuil, one of the King's equer- 
ries, being at a card-party, detected one of the players 
cheating, and exposed his conduct. 

The insulted ^^ gentleman '' demanded satisfaction, 
when Boisseuil replied that he did not fight with a 
person who was a rogue. 

•^ That may be,'' said the other, " but I do not like 
to be called one." 


They met on the ground, and Boisseuil received two 
desperate wounds from the sharper. 

This man^s plea against Boisseuil is a remarkable 
trait. Madame de Stael has alluded to it in her best 
style. ^^In France/^ she says, ^^we constantly see 
persons of distinguished rank who^ when accused of 
an improper action, will say, ^ It may have been wrong, 
but no one will dare assert it to my face !^ Such an 
expression is an evident proof of confirmed depravity, 
for what would be the condition of society if it was 
only requisite to kill one another to commit with im- 
punity every evil action, — ^to break one^s word and 
assert falsehood, — provided no one dared tell you that 
you lied V^ 

The Dug de Beaufort and the Dug db Nemotjrs. 

This extraordinary duel occurred in 1652. When 
the parties met, the Due de Beaufort exclaimed, ^^ Oh, 
heaU'frerey what a shame ! Let us forget the past and 
be friends V^ To this the Due de Nemours replied, 
" Eogue ! I must either kill you or you must kill me.^^ 
It should be stated, that the quarrel between them 
was only on a point of precedence. The Due de Ne- 
mours fired j but missing, he rushed upon Beaufort, 
sword in hand, and was killed by a ball which entered 
his breast. The seconds then fought ; upon which two 
of the three of the Due de Beaufort^s were killed, and 
the others seriously wounded. The result was equally 
remarkable. At first the Archbishop of Paris forbade 

VOL. I. Q 


the funeral senrice to be performed over the body of 
Nemours ; but a fortnight after he consented^ at the 
intercession of the Prince de Conde. The prohibition 
was the more remarkable, because the arclibishop was 
the celebrated Cardinal de Retz, who generally carried 
a dagger in his pocket. 

The Prince de Conti and the Grand Prior de 


At the Dauphin^s, the Prince de Conti accused the 
Grand Prior de Vendome of cheating at play, and 
moreover called him a coward and a liar; the Prior 
threw the cards in his face and insisted upon im- 
mediate satisfaction. The Prince claimed the privi- 
lege of his birth, but, at the same time, conde- 
scended to add tliat, although he could not infringe 
the laws by acceding to his challenge, it was an easy 
matter to meet him in a rencontre. These meetings 
were resorted to instead of duels, in order to keep 
within the pale of the laws ; hence the term. Mean- 
while, however, the Dauphin, hearing of the quarrel, 
jumped out of bed, and in his shirt proceeded to 
terminate the difference. Subsequently, making his 
report to the King the next morning, the Grand Prior 
was sent to the Bastille, whence he was only liberated 
on the condition that he should make a humble 
ai)ology to the Prince de Conti for having been called 
by him a cheat, a liar, and a coward ! 


The Marquis de Sevigne and the Chevalier 


This duel derives its interest from its connection 
with '^ the Queens of Society " during the reign of 
Louis XIV., especially Madame de Sevigne, the cele- 
brated letter-writer and devoted wife and mother. The 
Marquis de Sevigne, her husband, was a profligate of 
the deepest dye, and separated from the wife who loved 
him to distraction. He formed a liaison with a married 
lady, Madame de Gondran, to whom, however, the 
Chevalier d^Albret made pretensions. Proud in his 
secure triumph, the Marquis, who was aware of his 
rival^s designs, spoke of the latter with ridicule and 
contempt. Monsieur de Gondran no sooner heard of 
this than he sent a friend to the Marquis to demand 
explanations. Meanwhile the devotedness of Madame 
de Sevigne, in spite of all her domestic grievances, was 
touchingly displayed. At her place of retirement she 
received a letter which felled her to the ground. Her 
husband, she was told, was desperately wounded. She 
thereupon wrote to her husband a letter of tender re- 
proaches and womanly forgiveness. The news was 
false. The quarrel had indeed taken place, the duel 
had been arranged, but it had not yet come off. The 
letter of his wife may have brought some remorse into 
the profligate's heart, but could not avert the cata- 
strophe. The parties ' met, and the Chevalier ran the 
Marquis through and through with such extraordinary 

Q 2 



precision that Saint-Megrin exclaimed, " Ma foi ! tliis 
Chevalier d^Albret is a fine, witty fellow, who kills to 
perfection/' The profligate woman, Madame de Gon- 
dran, on whose account the duel was fought, on learn- 
ing the news, only said, ^^ Then my husband and I 
have lost our dearest friend V^ 

This catastrophe closed the first romance of Madame 
de Sevigne's life. She had chosen and loved her hus- 
band from her heart. She had forgiven his incon- 
stancy and endured his neglect. He was now taken 
from her, slain in a quarrel for a woman unfit to be her 
rival. So completely had he neglected her that she 
had nothing of his to cherish as a relic, and in her 
grief and love was fain to demand from the very 
woman for whom he had abandoned her, his portrait 
and a lock of his hair. Her grief, indeed, was so in- 
tense that in after years she could never meet his an- 
tagonist (if we may not say his murderer) without 
falling into a swoon. Her husband had absorbed all 
her love, and she was one of those women whose pas- 
sion has but one centre. When that was gone, and 
grief, after long years, had calmed down, the passion 
still survived in a maturer form, and the deep love of 
the wife passed into a calmer yet as powerful attach- 
ment for him and his child, and it is only thus that 
we can account for her devotion to h^r daughter, Ma- 
dame de Grignan.* 

* Wharton, * The Queens of Society,' vol. i., in which will be 
found an admirable memoir of this celebrated lady. 


2. Duels in England. 
Me. Jermyn and Captain Howard. 

This meeting took place in the year 1662, in the 
old Pall Mall, St. Jameses. Mr. Jermyn was the 
nephew of the Earl of St. Alban^s, and afterwards 
himself Lord Jermyn. Captain Thomas Howard was 
brother to Lord Carlisle. Mr. Jermyn's second was 
Colonel Giles Eawlins, and Captain Howard was at- 
tended by a friend. 

The challenged party, Mr. Jermyn, was entirely 
ignorant of the nature of the offence he had given, 
nor could he induce his antagonist to inform him. 
The duel, therefore, was irregular, and demonstrates 
a total disregard of the first principles of the practice. 

All the parties fought, seconds as well as principals. 
Mr. Jermyn was severely wounded, and his second 
was killed. Captain Howard was supposed to have 
worn a coat of mail under his dress ! 

Sir H. Bellasses* and Mr. Porter. 

(a.d. 1667.) 
According to Pepys, duels were very prevalent in 
England about this period, and he calls them " a kind 
of emblem of the general complexion of the whole 
kingdom," at this time. The following is his ac- 
count of the duel between Sir H. Bellasses and Mr. 


^^They two dined yesterday at Sir Eobert Carres, 

* So in Pepys, but properly Bellasis or Belasyse. 


where, it seems, people do drink higli, all that come. 
It happened that these two, the greatest Mends in 
the world, were talking together, and Sir H. Bellasses 
talked a little louder than ordinary to Tom Porter, 
giving him some advice. Some of the company 
standing by said, ' What ! are they quarrelling, that 
they talk so high V Sir H. Bellasses hearing it, said, 
^ No, I would have you know I never quarrel, but I 
strike; take that rule of mine/ 'How?^ said Tom 
Porter, ^strike? I would I could see the man in 
England that durst give me a blow V. 

^*With that. Sir H. Bellasses did give him a box 
on the ear; and so they were going to fight, but 
were hindered. And by-and-by Tom Porter went 
out, and meeting Dryden, the poet, told him of the 
business, and that he was resolved to fight Sir H. 
Bellasses presently, for he knew, if he did not, they 
would be friends to-morrow, and then the blow would 
rest upon him ; and he desires Dryden to let him have 
his boy to bring him notice which way Sir H. Bel- 
lasses goes. 

^^ By-and-by he is informed that Sir H. Bellasses^ 
coach was coming ; so Tom Porter went down out of 
the coflFee-room, where he stayed for the tidings, and 
stopped the coach, and bade Sir H. Bellasses come 
out. ^ Why,^ said Sir H. Bellasses, ^you will not hurt 
one coming out, will you V ' No,^ says Tom Porter. 
So out he went, and both drew. 

"And Sir H. Bellasses having drawn and flung 


away the scabbard, Tom Porter asked him whether 
he was ready. The other answered, he was ; and they 
fell to fight, some of their acquaintances by. "They 
wounded one another ; and Sir H. Bellasses so much, 
that it is feared he will die. And finding himself 
severely woimded, he called to Tom Porter, and kissed 
him, and bade him shift for himself; ^for,^ says he, 
'Tom, thou hast hurt me; but I will make shift to 
stand on my legs till thou mayest withdraw, and the 
world not take notice of thee ; for I would not have 
thee troubled for what thou hast done.^ 

'' And so, whether he did fly or not I cannot tell, 
but Tom Porter showed Sir H. Bellasses that he was 
wounded too ; and they are both ill, but Sir H« Bel- 
lasses to the life. And this is fine example ! and Sii* 
H. Bellasses a Parliament man too ; and both of them 
extraordinary friends. ^^ 

Bellasses died in a few days, and Pepys comments 
on the event, as before quoted, thus : — '^ It is pretty 
to see how the world talk of them, as a couple of fools, 
that killed one another out of love.^^ 

The duel took place in Covent Garden, 

The Earl of Shrewsbury and the Duke op 


This duel took place about the same period as the 
last described. 

''It appears that the Duke of Buckingham, the 
well-known profligate, had debauched Lady Shrews- 


bury, the daughter of the Earl of Cardigan, and was 
challenged by her husband. The King, who had 
been apprised of the intended meeting, commanded 
the Duke of Albemarle to secure Buckingham, and 
confine him to his house. Albemarle, by all accounts, 
wilfully neglected the royal command, and the meet- 
ing took place. The Duke was attended by Captain 
Holman and Sir J. Jenkins; and Lord Shrewsbury 
was accompanied by Sir J. Talbot, a gentleman of the 
Privy chamber, and Lord Bernard Howard, son of the 
Earl of Arundel. The parties met at Barnes Elms. 
According to the custom of the day, the seconds also • 
engaged each other. 

^^ The combat on both sides was long and desperate. 
Buckingham ran Lord Shrewsbury through the body; 
Sir John Talbot was severely wounded in both arms, 
and Jenkins was left dead on the field. Buckingham 
and the other seconds were only slightly wounded. 

'' It is reported, that during this murderous conflict, 
Lady Shrewsbury — in a pagers attire — was holding 
Buckingham's horse in a neighbouring thicket, to 
facilitate his escape in the event of his having killed 
her husband. Such a circumstance is very probable, 
as showing the profligacy of the times, since it was 
reported, and generally believed, that Lady Shrews- 
bury had not only been most anxious that the meeting 
should take place, but actually slept the same night 
with her paramour in the very shirt stained with the 
blood from the wound he had received as her champion.- 


'^ The King, by proclamation, pardoned all parties 
concerned in the death of Sir J. Jenkins, but declared 
his determination not to extend his gracious mercy to 
future offenders/^* 

Lord Mohun, Captain Hall, and Montford, 

THE Actor. 

This celebrated affair is rather an assassination than 
a duel ; but as a similar doubt does not exclude other 
rencontres from the category, I quote it as such. 

Lord Mohun was one of the most disreputable cha- 
racters of the times, connected with a set of men as 
unprincipled as himself, and ready to engage in any 
desperate transaction. 

Together with a Captain Hall, one of his associates, 
he had formed a project forcibly to carry off Mrs. Brace- 

* Millingen, who adds, "After this duel Buckingham, pa- 
tronized by Lady Castlemaine, openly took Lady Shrewsbury to 
live with him in his own house ; and when the Duchess ventured 
to expostulate on such a line of conduct, adding, that it was out 
of the question that she and his mistress should live under the 
same roof, he quietly replied, * That is also my opinion, madam, 
and I have therefore ordered your coach to carry you to your 
father.* Buckingham and Lady Shrewsbury afterwards hved 

together at Clifden. 

* Clifden's proud alcove. 

The bower of wanton Shrewsbury and love/ 
After the death of the Earl of Shrewsbury, this worthy pair dis- 
sipated the estate of the young Earl, when the matter was 
brought before the House of Lords, and an award was made 
that the Duke should not converse or cohabit with the Countess 
in future, and each should enter into a security to the King's 
Majesty in the sum of £10,000 for that purpose." 



girdle, an actress to whom, or rather to whose success- 
ful and lucrative career on the stage, this Hall was at- 
tached. They hired a coach to go to Totteridge, di- 
recting the driver to have six horses in readiness, and 
to be waiting for them in Drury Lane, near the theatre, 
but with only two horses to the carriage, about nine 
o^clock at night. Captain Hall had secured the assist- 
ance of a party of soldiers belonging to his company in 
his regiment. 

It turned out, however, that Mrs. Bracegii'dle did 
not perform that night; but the conspirators disco- 
vered that she was to sup at the house of a Mrs. Page, 
in Drury Lane ; they therefore lay in wait for her in 
the vicinity. 

About ten o'clock Mrs. Bracegirdle, accompanied 
by Mr. Page, her mother, and her brother, were re- 
turning home towards Howard Street, where she lived, 
when these ruflBans seized her, and, assisted by the 
soldiers, endeavoured to force her into the carriage, 
while Captain Hall at the same time tried to drive 
away Mr. Page ; but Mrs. Bracegirdle's mother firmly 
grasped her, and struggled to protect her daughter. 
The uproar had now become so great, the neighbour- 
hood being alarmed by the woman's shrieks, that se- 
veral persons rushed to the rescue ; the desperate pro- 
ject was defeated, and the soldiers were dismissed by 
their commander. 

Mrs. Bracegirdle returned home, but Lord Mohun 
and his companion watched near her house at the 


corner of Norfolk Street, pacing up and down the 
flags with drawn swords, waiting for Montford, whom 
they expected to pass in that direction on his way 
home, resolved to make amends for their disappoint- 
ment by wreaking their vengeance on the unconscious 


The sequel of this drama shows the state of society 
at the time, if the event just described be not sufficient 
to do so. Mohun and Hall, tired of standing sentry, 
amused themselves with drinking two bottles of wine 
in the street, and this, with their extraordinary con- 
duct and their naked swords, attracted the attention 
of the watchmen, who ventured to question the rioters, 
upon which Lord Mohun told the insolent guardians of 
the night that he was a peer of the realm, and dared 
them to molest him. At the same time, he conde- 
scended to inform them that \li& friend's sword was 
drawn in consequence of his having lost his scabbard. 
The watch, therefore, very respectfully withdrew, apo- 
logizing for the breach of privilege of which they had 
involuntarily been guilty. 

About midnight the unfortunate Montford, return- 
ing from the theatre, fell in with this worthy couple. 
Lord Mohun approached him in a very cordial man- 
ner, and even went so far as to embrace him, when 
Montford asked him what he could possibly be doing 
in the street at that advanced hour of the night. His 
Lordship replied, ^^ I suppose you have heard of the 
lady V To which Montford answered, ^^ I hope my 


wife^^ (who was also an actress) '^has given your 
Lordship no oflFence V^ ^^ No/^ said Lord Mohun, " it 
is Mrs. Bracegirdle I mean/^ To which Montford ob- 
served^ ^^ Mrs. Bracegirdle, my Lord, is no concern of 
mine ; but I hope your Lordship does not countenance 
the conduct of Mr. Hall/^ At these words Captain Hall 
came forward, and exclaiming, " This is not a time to 
discuss such matters,^^ ran Montford through the body. 

At the subsequent trial, it was asserted that several 
passes had taken place between the parties before the 
fatal wound was inflicted ; this circumstance, however, 
was by no means clearly proved. 

A cry of murder was raised, the watch rushed in, 
but the assassins had fled. Lord Mohun surrendered 
himself, observing that he hoped that Hall had made 
his escape, as he was well satisfied to be hanged for 
him, and he further avowed that, to facilitate his es- 
cape, he had changed coats with him. 

It appeared upon the trial that Captain Hall, who 
wished to marry Mrs. Bracegirdle, had conceived that 
the rivalry of Montford was the only obstacle to the 
success of his suit j he had repeatedly sworn that he 
would get rid of him some way or other, and it was to 
effect this purpose that he and Lord Mohun had ex- 
changed coats and hats in the scene-room of the 
theatre. That the assassination of their victim had 
been coolly premeditated, there could not be the 
slightest doubt. Hall had made preparations for it, 
and when he seemed to doubt the resolution of his 


Lordship, and observed at the tavern that he would 
be ruined unless Lord Mohun attended at the theatre 
to assist him by six o^ clock, Lord Mohun replied, 
'^ Upon my soul and honour I will be there V 

Notwithstanding this evidence, however, Lord Mohun 
was acquitted of the charge of having been accessory 
to the murder. The only circumstance in his favour 
was the question whether Hall had stabbed Montford 
when unprepared, or whether the unfortunate man had 
defended himself. It was proved that his sword was 
broken. However, little doubt could exist as to the 
culpability of Lord Mohun in having coolly and de- 
liberately planned the act of violence against Mrs. 
Bracegirdle, with a determination to rid themselves of 
her supposed paramour anyhow ; and we cannot but 
marvel at his peers allowing him to escape unpunished.* 

* "William Montford, the victim, was an actor of considerable 
merit, and was also a successful dramatic writer. He was only 
thirty-three years of age when he met with this untimely end. 
Gibber speaks of him in the following terms : — * He was taU in 
person, well made, fair, and of an agreeable aspect. His voice 
full, clear, and melodious. In tragedy, he was the most affecting 
lover within my memory. His addresses had a resistless recom- 
mendation from the very tone of his voice, which gave his words 
such softness that, as Dry den says :— 

" Like flocks of feather'd snow. 
They melted as they fell !" 

It was to be expected that such worthless ruffians as Mohun and 
Hall should have been anxious to remove the rivalry of a person 
so likely to please Mrs. Bracegirdle, although the intimacy be- 
tween her and Montford was such as to leave those acquainted 



This same Lord Mohun fought a most desperate duel 
with swords in Hyde Park with the Duke of Hamilton. 
In some law proceedings, the Duke said that Mohun's 
witness had neither truth nor justice in him, to which 
Mohun answered that he had as much truth as his 
Grace, and challenged the latter. The seconds were 
Colonel Hamilton, of the Foot Guards, for the Duke, 
and McCarthy for Lord Mohun. The particulars 
are not given precisely, but it is stated that the 
seconds fought as well as the principals, according to 
the old custom. The Duke of Hamilton received a 
wound on the right side of the leg about seven inches 
long, another in the right arm, a third in the upper 
part of the right breast, running downwards towards 
the body, a fourth on the outside of the left leg. Lord 
Mohun received a large wound in the groin, another 
in the right side through the body and up to the hilt 
of the sword, and a third in his arm. 

It appears that the parties did not parry, but gave 
thrusts at each other, and Lord Mohun, shortening his 
sword, stabbed the Duke in the upper part of the left 
breast, running downwards into the body, as before 
stated, which wound was fourteen inches long, and he 

with the parties firmly convinced that no improper intercourse 
existed between them. From her walk in the drama, they con- 
stantly performed together, and a strict intimacy had not only 
existed between them but between Mrs. Bracegirdle and Mrs. 
Montfor d. ' ' — Milling en. 



expired soon after he was put into a coach. Accord- 
ing to Swift, " the dog Mohun was killed on the spot, 
and the Dake was helped towards the lake-house, by 
the ring, in Hyde Park, where they fought, and died 
on the grass before he could reach his house, and was 
brought home in his coach by eight, while the poor 
Duchess was asleep/' It was said that a footman of 
Lord Mohun's stabbed, the Duke, and some say that 
McCarthy, Mohun's second, did so too, but this seems 
to have been an unfounded statement. 

Swift exhibits considerable sympathy in this case ; 
he says, '' I am infinitely concerned for the poor 
duke, who was a frank, honest, good-natured man. 
They carried the poor duchess to a lodging in the 
neighbourhood, where I have been with her two hours, 
and am just come away. I never saw so melancholy 
a scene, for, indeed, all reasons for real grief belong 
to her ; nor is it possible for any one to be a greater 
loser in all- regards; she has moved my very soul. 
The lodging was inconvenient, and they would have 
moved her to another, but I would not suffer it, 
because it had no room backwards, and she must 
have been tortured with the noise of the Grub Street 
screamers dinging her husband's murder in her ears.'' 

The second, McCarthy, fled to Holland, but about 
four years after, he was convicted of manslaughter. 
Colonel Hamilton was also found guilty of manslaughter, 
but ^^ prayed the benefit of the statute."* 

* * Tryal of J. Hamilton, 1712 ' (Lib. Brit Museum) 



Swift tells a curious anecdote in connection with 
this affair. A reward had been offered for the appre- 
hension of McCarthy. A gentleman, one night, was 
attacked by highwaymen, and to save himself hit 
upon the idea of making them believe he was 
McCarthy, the stabber of the duke, for whom the 
reward was offered. Thereupon the rogues brought 
him before a justice, in the hope of receiving the 
reward for his apprehension, when, to their huge 
surprise, he gave them in charge for the attempt at 
highway robbery. 

Altogether, the whole affair presents a very accu- 
rate picture of the manners and customs of the time. 
To say nothing of the moral depravity of the period, 
"the streets were then so unsafe that the nearer 
home a man^s club lay, the better for his clothes and 
his purse. Even riders in coaches were not safe from 
mounted footpads, and from the danger of upsets in 
the huge ruts and pits which intersected the streets. 
The passenger who could not afford a coach had to 
pick his way, after dark, along the dimly-lighted, ill- 
paved thoroughfares, seamed by filthy open kennels, 
besprinkled from projecting spouts, bordered by gap- 
ing cellars, guarded by feeble old watchmen, and 
beset with daring street-robbers. But there were 
worse terrors of the night than the chances of a 
splashing or a sprain, risks beyond those of an interro- 
gatory by the watch, or of a ^ stand and deliver^ 
from a footpad. These were the lawless raJce-hells 


who, banded into clubs, spread terror and dismay 
through the streets.* Such was London in the first 
quarter of the last century. Add to these social ele- 
ments, the nocturnal fraternities of ^^ Mohocks/^ ^^ Hec- 
tors/' "Scourers/' "Sweaters/' the "Tumblers/' 
whose amusement was to set women on their heads, 
feet in the air, and we can imagine a picture which is 
calculated to make us doubt whether the men of these 
days could possibly be our progenitors.f 

In consequence of this desperate and brutal duel, 
a bill was introduced into the House of Commons, 
for the more effectual suppression of the practice, but 
after twice reading, it was lost. 

Beau Fielding and a Barrister. 

As before stated, the pit of the theatre, at this 
period, was the constant rendezvous of the young 
bloods of the day, who frequented it merely for the 
purpose of insulting females, and getting themselves 
involved in disputes that might increase their fashion- 
able popularity, to which nothing seemed more likely 
to contribute than a duel. Strange perversity, that 
the same men should insult one woman and fight for 
another, and that womanhood smiled approvingly on 
the practice ! 

In the year 1720, Mrs. Oldfield, a celebrated ac- 

* Timbs, * Club Life in London.' 

t The reader will find much curious matter respecting those 
times in Mr. Timbs's * Club life in London.* 

VOL. I. R 


tress, was performing in ^ The Scornful Lady,' when 
Beau Fielding (the Orlando the Fair of the ^Tatler^) 
insulted a barrister of the name of Pulwood, by 
pushing rudely against him. Fulwood expostulated 
with some degree of violence, upon which Fielding 
laid his hand upon his sword. The pugnacious lawyer 
drew, and gave his antagonist a severe wound in the 

Beau Fielding, who was then a man above fifty 
years of age, came forward, and uncovering his breast, 
showed his bleeding wound to the public, to excite 
the compassion of the fair sex ; but, to his no small 
disappointment, a burst of laughter broke forth from 
the audience. Fulwood, emboldened by his success 
with poor Fielding, repaired to Lincoln^ s Inn Fields' 
Theatre, where he picked another quarrel with a 
Captain Cusack, and then demanded satisfaction. 
They went into the fields, and the lawyer was pro- 
fessionally dispatched by the soldier, and left dead on 
the ground.* 

Ensign Sawyer and Captain Wrey. 

This duel was fought at Kinsale, in Ireland, It 
appears that Ensign Sawyer had beaten the servant 
of Captain Wrey, for giving a slighting answer to his 
wife. His master had permitted the servant to obtain 
a warrant for the assault^ which the ensign hearing of, 
before he could be served with it, challenged the 

* Miilingen. 


captain to fight him on the spot. The captain, after 
having in vain remonstrated with him upon the im- 
propriety of his conduct, accompanied him some dis- 
tance out of town, in order to gain some time for 
persuasion, when the ensign on a sudden drew his 
sword, and at the first onset wounded the captain in 
the left breast ; at the second pass, in the left arm ; 
but on the third lounge the captain ran him through 
the body. He expired in two hours, after owning 
himself the aggressor, and giving the captain a kiss 
as a last farewell.* 

A Duel for a Debt op Honour. 

'^ Never lend, borrow, beg, or steal ^^ is an admirable 
maxim, no doubt, for a social man, and, in spite of its 
apparent sdfishness in some respects, perhaps the 
world would get on all the better if it were strictly 
complied with in every case. At any rate there is 
ample experience to attest that many a jfriendship has 
been converted into hatred, and much calamity in the 
household has resulted from borrowing money. Such 
was the cause of the following duel. 

Lord Belfield, a baron of Ireland, had lent some 
money as a debt of honour to Eichard Herberd, Esq., 
member of Parliament for Ludlow and colonel of one 
of the new regiments raised at the time, and demanded 
it when due. The consequence was a challenge. The 
parties met with sword and pistol, in the fields (as then 

* * Gentleman's Magazine,* m. 

R 2 


existed) between Tottenham Court Road and Maryle- 
bone. The particulars of the encounter are not on re- 
cord, but the result was, that Herberd received a ball 
which went in at the eye and out at the back part of 
the skull, and Lord Belfield was very much wounded. 

Majoe Oneby and Mr. Gower. 

This duel originated as follows : — It appears that a 
Major Oneby, being in company with a Mr. Gower and 
three other persons at a tavern, in a friendly manner, 
after some time, began playing at hazard, when one of 
the company, named Rich, asked if any one would set 
him three half-crowns, whereupon Mr. Gower, in a 
jocular manner, laid down three halfpence, telling Rich 
he had set him three pieces, and Major Oneby at the 
same time set Rich three half-crowns, and lost them 
to him. 

Immediately after this. Major Oneby, in an angry 
manner, turned about to Mr. Gower and said, " It was 
an impertinent thing to set down halfpence,^' and called 
him ^' an impertinent puppy '^ for so doing. Td this 
Mr. Gower answered, "Whoever calls me so is a 
rascal.^' Thereupon Major Oneby took up a bottle 
and with great force threw it at Mr. Gower^s head, but 
did not hit him, the bottle only brushing some of the 
powder out of his hair. Mr. Gower, in return, imme- 
diately tossed a candlestick or a bottle at Major Oneby, 
which missed him, upon which they both rose to fetch 
their swords, which were then hung in the room, and 


Mr. Gower drew his sword, but the Major was pre- 
vented from drawing his by the company. Thereupon 
Mr. Gower threw away his sword, and, the company 
interposing, they sat down again for the space of an 

At the expiration of that time, Mr. Gower said to 
Major Oneby, " We have had hot words, and you were 
the aggressor, but I think we may pass it over,^^ at 
the same time offering him his hand ; but the Major 
replied, ^^ No, d — n you, I will have your hlood.'^ 

After this, the reckoning being paid, all the com- 
pany, excepting Major Oneby, went out of the room to 
go home, and he called to Mr. Gower, saying, " Young 
man, come back, I have something to say to you.^^ 
Whereupon Mr. Gower returned to the room, and im- 
mediately the door was closed, and the rest of the 
company excluded, when a clashing of swords was 
heard and Major Oneby gave Mr. Gower a mortal 
wound. It was found, on the breaking up of the com- 
pany, that Major Oneby had his great coat over his 
shoulders, and that he had received three slight wounds 
in the fight. Mr. Gower, being asked on his death- 
bed whether he had received his wounds in a manner 
among swordmen called fair, answered, ^^I think I 

Major Oneby was tried for the offence and found 
guilty of murder, '^ having acted upon malice and de- 
Kberation, and not from sudden passion.^^ 


Steble and a Beothee Oppicee. 

Steele, notwithstanding his efforts to discountenance 
duelling, as before mentioned, was drawn into a quar- 
rel that very nearly proved fatal. • At that period he 
was an officer in the Coldstream Guards, when a 
brother officer communicated to him his intention of 
calling out a person who had offended him, but was 
dissuaded from this purpose by the powerful arguments 
of Steele. Some of the other officers of the regiment 
thought proper to spread a report that Steele had thus 
interfered in the affair to screen the offender from a 
merited chastisement, thus compromising the honour 
of the person whom he had offended. A challenge 
was therefore sent to Steele. He sought in vain to 
avoid the meeting, but at last consented. Relying on 
his skill in swordmanship, he felt persuaded that he 
could chastise the aggressor without endangering his 
life. The parties met, and SteeWs buckle breaking as 
he was tightening his shoe, he urged this accident to 
induce the challenger to desist, but to no purpose. 
Swords were crossed, Steele parried several lounges, 
till at last, in an attempt to disarm his antagonist, he 
ran him through the body. After lingering some time 
in a hopeless state, Steele had the gratification to hear 
of his recovery.* 

* Millingen. 


Lord Hervey and Lord Cobham. 

This aflPair was only a challenge followed by an 
apology, but it may be worth while to quote it as an 
illustration of the manners of the day at the end of the 
period comprised in this chapter. It is related by Sir 
Robert Walpole in a letter to Mann, and occured in 
the year 1750. 

^^ About ten days ago, at the new Lady Cobham^s 
assembly, Lord Hervey was leaning over a chair talk- 
ing to some woman and holding his hat in his hand. 
Lord Cobham came up and spit in ifc, — ^yes, spit in it, — 
and then, with a loud laugh, turned to Nugent and 
said, ^ Pay me my wager .^ In short, he had laid a 
guinea that he would commit this absurd brutality, and 
that it would not be resented. Lord Hervey, with 
great temper and sense, asked if he had any further 
occasion for his hat. ' Oh, I see you are angry.' ' Not 
very well pleased.' Lord Cobham took the fatal hat 
and wiped it, and made a thousand foolish apologies, 
and wanted to pass it off as a joke. Next morning 
he rose with the sun and went to visit Lord Hervey ; 
he would not see him, but wrote to the spitter (or, as 
he is now called. Lord GoVem) to say that he had 
grossly insulted him before company, but having in- 
volved Nugent in it, he desired to know to which he 
was to address himself for satisfaction. Lord Cobham 
made a most submissive answer and begged pardon 
both in his own and Nugent's name. Here it rested 


for a few days^ till, the matter getting wind. Lord 
Hervey wrote again to insist upon an explicit apolog}' 
under Lord Cobham^s own hand, with a rehearsal of 
the excuses that had been made to him. This, too, 
was complied witli, and the fair conqiieror showed all 
the letters/'* 

* Walpole calls Lord Hervey " the fair conqueror " from his 
great effeminacy, which induced Lord Cobham, better known as 
Earl Temple, to insult him in so gross a manner. 

The same Lord Hervey challenged Pulteney for his articles 
in the * Craftsman * against him ; they met, and both com- 
batants were slightly wounded. 

Lord Cobham, who acted so disgracefully, was nevertheless 
a man of " standing " among his party, and was made a Field 
Marshal in the year 1742. 

Hervey was a young man of considerable wit and ability, 
but most infirm health, insomuch that he found it necessary to 
live on asses' milk and biscuits. Once a week he indulged him- 
self with an apple. Emetics he used daily. He attracted ridi- 
cule by the contrast between his pompous, solemn manner, and 
his puny effeminate appearance, and still more unhappily for 
him, hfe attacked that spiteful and heartless creature Alexander 
Pope, who, in return, has sent down his name to posterity as 
a monster of profligacy, and a "mere white curd of asses* 




The following picture of the period to which we are 
approaching will throw much light on the character of 
the duels it produced. The social body in France was 
to undergo a total renovation and reform. ^' The long 
despotism of Louis XIV. had brutalized the public 
mind, and rendered it unfit to receive any generous 
impressions, or to be capable of any noble reaction 
against tyranny. The nation was sick of glory, and 
of a magnificence which had drained its wealth. Still, 
it murmured silently and moodily, as perhaps it mur- 
murs at the present day, until master minds should 
appear to bring these elements of discord into action. 
Apathy had succeeded energetic deeds, and indolence 
ushered in vice stripped of all its gaudy, attractive 
fascination, and in all its natural baseness and turpi- 


tude. Philip d* Orleans, Regent of the kingdom during 
the minority of Louis XV,, plunged the Court into 
every possible species of debauch; and the polished 
gallantry of former days was succeeded by the most 
degrading excesses Libertinism, in all its hideous 
deformity, no longer sought the concealment of a pru- 
dent mask ; but profligacy was considered fashionable, 
consequently the pride and boast of its votaries. Vice 
had become the reigning toUy and, where a blush was 
raised, it was upon the conviction of having performed 
a virtuous action. Abandoned to all the voluptuous- 
ness of a profligate Court, the Regent displayed neither 
authority nor energy in repressing evils, and only con- 
sidered the possession of power valuable as being the 
means of commanding fresh pleasures. The former 
edicts on duelling were now disregarded, since the 
laws were not enforced, and no punishment awaited 
their transgressors. Six weeks after the death of 
Louis XIV., two officers of the Guards fought on the 
quay of the Tuileries in open day ; but as these young 
men belonged to families of the long-robe, the Due 
d' Orleans, out of respect to the Parliament, which he 
dreaded, merely removed them from their corps, and 
sentenced them to a fortnight^s imprisonment. This 
duel had been fought about an Angola cat ; and the 
Duke, when reprimanding the parties, told them that 
such a matter of dispute should have been settled with 
claws instead of swords. 

^^ Courtly intrigues now became frequently mixed up 


with duelling, and the jealousies and quarrels of fash- 
ionable women were the constant sources of disputes 
among their lovers. The Court of Honour, consisting 
of the Marshals of France, an institution established in 
the reign of Louis XIV., would decline interferiiig 
when any of the parties were not of high birth or dis- 
tinguished rank. An instance of this proud distinc- 
tion occurred in the following case. An abbe of the 
name of D^Aydie had fought with a clerk in the pro- 
vincial department at an opera-dancer^s house, and 
wounded him. The Duchesse de Berry, daughter of 
the Regent, immediately ordered that the Abbe 
d^Aydie should be deprived of his preferment, and 
obliged to become a Knight of Malta. The scribe, on 
recovering from his wound, was constantly seeking his 
antagonist, who was compelled to fight him four times, 
until the Duchess brought the parties before the Court 
of Honour, presided over by Marshal de Chamilly, who> 
upon hearing of the condition of one of the parties, ex- 
claimed, ' What the deuce does he come here for ? A 
fellow who calls himself Bouton (Button), do you 
presume to think we can be your judges ? Do you 
take us for bishops or keepers of the seals ? And the 
fellow, too, dares to call us My Lords !'* 

" This Abbe D^ Ay die, it should also be known, was 

* To understand these punctilious feelings, it must be remem- 
bered that the Marshals of France were only called wy lords by 
the nobility, being considered the judges of the higher orders ; 
and such an appellation from a roturier, or ** commoner,*' was 
deemed an affront. 


tiuit the low-bred clerk migtl dfprrre her of isr urn- 
mour hv an untuzielT end* The triltiznal reDcmkioaiafid 
xhfi Beg'ent to imprison the lover of liis daxts^tier. s$ a 
pniiiiifament for having fonght a low-bam fellow, wio, 
on a/'xjonnt of his ignoble condition, was dischao^ped as 
ben':aith their notice. The Duchess, howerer, did not 
approve of this finding of the coort; but, after pro- 
curing the liberation of her favourite, pursued ihe un- 
fortunate clerk with such rancour that she at last got 
him hanged, thereby exciting, according to Madame 
de Crequi, ^ the horror and the animadversion of all 
PariH/ Strange to say, this despicable Princess died 
a month after, on the very same day that the clerk was 
hanged. The execution took place on the 19th of June, 
and Hhe breathed her last on the 19th of July ! 

^^ A duel torjk place between Contades and Brissac, 
when botli were wounded, in the very conservatories 
of the palace. After a few days' concealment they 
appeared before the Parliament as a mere matter of 
fonri, and Contades was made a marshal of France. 
Another duel, fought in open day on the quay of the 
Tuileries, between two noblemen, Jonzac and Villette, 
was also passed over with little or no animadversion ; 
and Duelofl, in his ^ Secret Memoirs,' asserts that the 
llogorit openly insinuated that duelling had gone too 
much out of fashion. 

" Duelling was not only resorted to by men of the 
sword, but by men of finance; and the celebrated 


Scotcliinaii, Law of Lauriston, who was placed at the 
head of this department, had commenced his famous 
career by several hostile meetings. Howbeit, he so 
managed matters as not to compromise the security 
of his gambling-house in the Rue Quincampoix by 
quarrels, although an assassination ultimately ex- 
posed this hell to a serious investigation. One of 
the murderers was a Count Horn, a Belgian noble- 
man of distinguished family, but who, notwithstand- 
ing the powerful interest made in his behalf, was 
sentenced to be broken on the wheel. The Regent, 
in this case, was inflexible, nor would he even com- 
mute the punishment into a less degrading execution. 
This firmness was attributed to his partiality for his 
creature Law, whose bank was of great assistance to 
his constant debaucheries. Madame de Crequi, who 
was a relative of the criminal, and who exerted her 
best endeavours to save him, attributes this murder of 
what she calls ' The Jew who had robbed him,^ to other 
motives, and asserts that his highnesses implacable 
hostility arose from having once found him with one 
of his favourites, the Comtesse de Parabere, when the 
Duke disdainfully said to him, ^ Go out, sir 1^ to which 
the other replied, ^Your ancestors, sir, would have 
said, let us go out.'* 

* Voltaire attributes a similar reply to Chalot, when placed 
in the same situation with the Prince de Conti ; but Madame 
de Crequi exonerates herself from the suspicion of having mis- 
applied the repartee, by observing, " There once lived an old 
Jew, called Solomon, who mantained that there was nothing 
new under the sun." 


'^ Madame de Crequi and other writers of the times 
aflSrm, that duels had become so frequent that nothing 
else was heard of, and desolation and dismay were 
spread in numerous families. Among the victims of 
this practice was another lover of Madame de Para- 
bere, and rival of the Regent, the handsome De 
Breteuil. It appears that the Countess was unfor- 
tunate in her attachments, as many others of her 
favourites met with a similar fate. 

^' It has been truly said by historians, that Louis XV. 
received from the hands of the Regent a sceptre 
stained by corruption and a crown dimmed by de- 
pravity. He found a court composed of libertines 
and females of the most abandoned character. His 
guides and councillors were steeped in vice, and it 
would have required, perhaps, more than mortal power 
to resist the pestilential influence of such an atmo- 
sphere of prostitution. The commencement of his 
reign, however, was marked by a display of good 
qualities, that obtained for him the flattering appella- 
tion of ^ the Beloved,^ le Bien-aime, an appellation far 
more desirable than that of Great, which had been 
applied to his predecessor. Little was it then thought 
that ere long he would show himself the Sardanapalus 
of his age. 

" In the first year of his reign he applied himself 
to check the practice of duelling, and issued an edict, 
in which it was provided that any gentleman who 
struck another should be degraded from his rank and 


forfeit Ids arms; and lie solemnly declared that he 
would keep most religiously the coronation oath, by 
which he had bound himself to enforce these laws in 
all their rigour. But, alas for the coronation oaths ! 
They appear to have been, in the annals of every 
nation, but too often mere formal professions. We 
find, however, that in pursuance of this resolution, the 
Parliament of Grenoble condemned to the wheel one 
of the councillors for having killed a captain in the 
army; but, as the oflFender had made his escape he 
was only executed in effigy, and the arm of justice 
fell upon his unfortunate servant, who was branded 
and sent to the galleys.'^* 

M. DE Richelieu and the Comte db Baviebe. 

This aflFair, although abortive as a duel, was remark- 
able as giving occasion to a meeting of the Court of 
Honour. Being anxious to meet the Comte de Ba- 
viere, Richelieu left Paris with his followers to waylay 
him on the road from Chantilly; and, for the furtherance 
of his project, obstructed and barricaded the road 
with his equipages. The parties met, and high words 
arose between the coachmen and the servants of both 
parties, when the masters stepped out of their car- 
riages and drew their swords. However, they were 

^ The prince of duellists in these despicable times was the 
celebrated Due de Richelieu, before mentioned — the Duke of 
Buckingham of France — but who was ever ready to give satis- 
faction for the injuries he inflicted on the peace of families. 


separated by the Chevalier d^Auvray, who was lieu- 
tenant of the Marshals of France, and whose duties 
were to prevent all duelling, and bring oflFenders 
before their tribunal. Such was the case in this 
instance. All the noble youth of France was assem- 
bled, with their heads uncovered and without their 
swords, in the hall of meeting of the Point d'SonnenTy 


and Richelieu was ordered to make an ample apology 
to the Comte de Baviere. 

M. DE Richelieu and Count Albini. 

The Count Albini was nephew of Pope Clement XL, 
and being on a visit at the French court, was most 
anxious to become acquainted with the Marquise de 
Crequi-Blancefort, a lady not easy of access. Foiled 
in various attempts, he consulted Richelieu, who ad- 
vised him to disguise himself as a servant and to wait 
upon the Marquise in that capacity, with strong letters 
of recommendation which he gave him. So far the 
scheme succeeded that Albini was actually taken into 
her service, but soon after he ventured to undeceive 
his supposed mistress by an avowal of his passion, for 
which he was forthwith dismissed with ignominy. 
Richelieu pretended to be ignorant of the transaction, 
but the share he had in the disgraceful business being 
proved, he was sent to the Bastille. On his quitting 
the fortress, the young Marquis d^Aumont, a relation 
of the Marquise, called him out, and so severely 
wounded him in the hip that at one period his recovery 


was despaired of, and it was thought he would remain 
a cripple. 

The Comtessb de Polignac and the Maequisb de 


Richelieu not only fought on account of women, but 
also had the honour of making them fight for his sake. 
He had appointed two rendezvous to two different 
ladies for the same day, one at two o^ clock, the other 
at four. At any rate, such was the order he had given 
to his secretary, who had to arrange matters on such 
occasions, but unfortunately the latter, by mistake, 
fixed the same hour for both fair visitants, when, of 
course, there was a scene — a denouement. The result 
was a duel between the two ladies in the Bois de Bou- 
logne, and they set about it as implacable rivals. The 
Marquise proposed pistols, which happened to be the 
weapon with which the Comtesse was famihar. The 
latter, however, thought proper to break through the 
regulations, and called out to the Marquise, "Fire 
first, and mind you donH miss me, if you think I am 
going to miss you.^^ 

The Marquise de Nesle aimed, fired, and cut off a 
branch of a tree hard by. Thereupon the Comtesse 
de Polignac exclaimed, with the sang froid of a bully, 
"Your hand trembles with passion,^^ and aiming in 
her turn, she fired and cut off a small piece of the ear 
of the Marquise, who fell to the ground as though 
mortally wounded. 

VOL, I. s 


Richelieu was the Adonis of the day, and attracted 
the eyes and won the smiles of the highest ladies of 
the court. Moreover, it was merely his handsome 
person that secured to him the favour of the King, 
who loaded him with honours and gifts, and trans- 
formed him into a " gentleman/* 


Du Vighan was another fashionable tou6 of the 
period. His handsome appearance was so fascinating, 
that hackney-coachmen are said to have driven him 
without a fare for the mere pleasure of serving such a 
joli gargon. Another anecdote is related of a tailor's 
wife, who called upon him for the payment of four 
hundred francs due to her husband, but his attractions 
were such that she left behind her a bank-note for 
three hundred. Although of middling birth, he sought 
to attract the notice of the King, succeeded, and re- 
ceived letters of nobility — all through his good looks. 

This fortunate youth was constantly involved in law 
suits, wherein he always contrived to gain the day. So 
successful was he in all his undertakings that the Arch- 
bishop of Paris called him ^^ the serpent of the ter- 
restrial paradise.*^ The name he was usually known 
by was Le Charmant, 

It was of course of the utmost necessity that such a 
charming gentleman should be constantly engaged in 
some duel, and his fascinations seemed to operate as 
powerfully on the Marshals of France constituting the 


Court of Honour, as on the hearts of the ladies of the 
court, for he was inevitably acquitted. His sword, 
however, was not always as successful as his features 
and manners, for he received from the Comte de Meu- 
lan a severe wound that endangered his precious Ufe. 
On his recovery, he had the presumption to pay his 
addresses to Mademoiselle de Soissons, a young 
princess of great beauty, who become so enamoured 
of her admirer that her aunt was obliged to shut her 
up in a convent at Montmartre, under the surveillance 
of one of the provost officers. But bars and locks 
could not keep out such a Lothario, and a letter and a 
rope-ladder having been discovered, the lady^s family 
applied to the Baron d^XJgeon, one of their relatives 
and an expert swordman, to bring the youth to reason. 
The challenge was sent and accepted, but the meeting 
did not then take place, owing to the fatal malady of 
the King, upon whom Du Vighan attended to the last. 
At the death of the monarch, Du Vighan lost no 
time in seeking his adversary ; the duel came off, and 
he received two dangerous wounds in his right side. 
Notwithstanding the severity of the injury, he con- 
trived to scale the walls of the Abbey of Montmartre 
to see his beloved princess, but he was obliged to 
spend the night under the arches of the cloisters, the 
young lady having been shut up. During this painful 
vigil his wounds broke out afresh, and the haemor- 
rhage was so profuse that he was found there a corpse 
on the following morning. The body was carried 

8 2 


home and a report spread abroad that he had died of 
the smallpox, caught from the King during his atten- 
dance on the royal suiBTerer. As for the Princess, al- 
though she grieved pretty nearly unto death, yet she 
at length consoled herself by marrying the Prince de 


This celebrated duellist had been a lieutenant in a 
cavalry regiment. He accompanied the Marshal de 
Broglie in Italy, as aide-de-camp, and distinguished 
himself by his brav^ery at the battle of Gruastalla. He 
expected to be promoted to a captaincy after the 
campaign, but being disappointed in his expectations, 
he resigned his commission and devoted himself en- 
tirely to literature. He was a very violent man, and 
in his regiment he had done plenty of work with his 
rapier. Nor did he divest himself of his martial pro- 
pensities on doffing his uniform; and this was per- 
fectly understood by all who had anything to do with 
him. It is affirmed that the journalists took very 
good care always to praise Saint-Foix above all others, 
for he often declared that he would cut off the ears of 
any of them who should dare to attack him, and these 
gentlemen were quite convinced that he would Ifceep 
his promise.* 

Nevertheless, he had steadfast friends, a few literary 
men who courted his society on account of his brilhant 

* * Correspondance Litt^raire.* 


wit. He was a good sort of fellow, provided lie was 
never contradicted. In public lie showed himself a 
perfect master in the art of teasing, but he only pro- 
voked those who seemed likely to be able to reply 
sword in hand. One day, at the Cafe Procope, one 
of the King's Guards entered and called for a cup of 
cafe au lait with a small roll, adding, " That will do 
for my dinner.^' ^^ 'Pon my soul, that's a sorry din- 
ner,'' observed Saint-Foix. The guardsman at first 
took no notice of the impertinent remark, but Saint- 
Foix went on repeating and drumming it in his ear, 
till at last the guardsman got into a rage, called him 
out on the spot, and wounded him in the arm, when 
the inveterate railer exclaimed, ^^Well, but that does 
not prevent a cup of cafe au lait and a small roll from 
being a very sorry dinner." 

It was Saint-Foix who declined a challenge in the 
manner mentioned in a previous chapter, quoted by 
Franklin against duelling,* 

One day, meeting a lawyer whose countenance had 
the misfortune not to please him, he walked up to 
him, and whispered in his ear, ^^ Sir, I have some 
business with you." The attorney, not understanding 
the drift of his speech, quietly named an hour when 
he would find him at his office. The meeting was of 
course most amusing, the expression of Saint-Foix 
being that ^^ he wanted an affaire with him," a term 
which is equally apphcable to a duel and a legal trans- 

* Chapter I., p. 11. - 


It is said that lie nerer hesitated to decline a dod 
when he knew he was mnch superior to his challenger. 
Oddly enonghy this desperado always denonnced dud- 
ling ; snch is the logic of homan nature I 

Voltaire axd the Chetalieb d« Bohak-Chabot. 

If Saint-Foix denonnced duelling whilst erer ready 
to practise it, Voltaire sacrificed to the monster after 
attacking it with his nsnal wit and acerbity, which is 
another instance of the logic of human nature. 

Voltaire's ^'aflEair'^ is rather a long one, but, as 
literary fighters are eminent curiosities, I doubt not 
that it will be worth while to give all the details 
without abridgment. 

It appears that young Voltaire, as he was then, was 
dining at the Due de Sully's, There was a discussion, 
and Voltaire, who began life with a wonderftd degree 
of self-assurance and liberty of opinion, at once " shut 
up '' one of the principal speakers, who happened to 
be no less a "personage'' than the Chevalier de 
Rohan-Chabot. Turning to the host, the nettled 
Chevalier asked, — 

" Who is this young man that contradicts me with 
such loud talk ?" 

Voltaire replied, as the fiiture Orand Monarque of 
literature and " all he surveyed," — 

" Sir, he is a man who has not a great name, but 
who honours the one he has." 


Rohan left the table in a rage. 

''Happy deliverance^ if you have rid us of him/^ 
said the host to Voltaire, whereat all the guests ap- 
plauded vociferously. 

A few days after, Voltaire had the honour of again 
dining at the Due de Sully^s. In the midst of the 
pleasant entertainment a servant entered, saying that 
some one wanted him below for a kind purpose, and 
Voltaire rose hurriedly, dinner-napkin in hand, and 
went down to the door, whereat he saw a hackney- 
coach. In this hackney-coach were two men, who, 
with a voice of distress, begged him to get in. As 
soon as he got in, one of them collared him whilst the 
other gave him a thrashing, five or six cuts with a 
cane. Ten paces from the spot was the Due de 
Bohan in his carriage, escorted by four other scoun- 
drels. ''That will do;^^ said the duke, "now drive 

Of course, all that Voltaire could do in the circum- 
stances was to return to the dining-room and desire 
the Due de Sully to consider, as inflicted on himself, 
an outrage perpetrated on one of his guests ; but, in 
spite of the energy with which, we may be sure, the 
young man urged this honourable necessity, the Due 
de Sully peremptorily refused to have anything to do 
with it, even to appear before a magistrate to depose 
to the assault. Thereupon, Voltaire took leave of the 
duke, and quitted for ever a house more disgraced than 
himself by the insult he had received. 


Voltaire applied to the authorities; he sent the 
following plaint to the minister of the department : — 

'^ I declare very humbly that I have been outraged 
by the brave Chevalier de Rohan, assisted by six cut- 
throats, behind whom he was safely posted. Since 
then I have continually endeavoured to repair, not my 
honour, but his, which would be too difficult/' 

Nothing came of the plaint, as Voltaire bitterly dis- 
covered ; and finding that he could not count on the 
assistance of human justice, he resolved to trust to his 
own courage and resolution. 

Most other young men would at once have challenged 
the infamous and brutal ^^ personage /' but Voltaire 
was a man of caution. He never did anything in his 
Hfe without calculation. He always did his best to be 
on the safe side. He was no fencer ; what a fool he would 
be to challenge a fellow who might, and would if he 
could, spit him like a duck or a partridge ! Voltaire 
was no fool, and so he took lessons at fencing ; set to 
work at the scienza cavalleresca ; and as soon as he 
found he knew ^' assez^^ of the thing, and believed 
himself up to the mark, he went one night to the 
Theatre Fran5ais, followed by his Mend Thieriot, and 
shoving open the door of Rohan's box, he said, as Vol- 
taire only could say, biting, sarcastic, like a dog crunch- 
ing a bone,— 

^^ Sir, if no little matter in which you may have been 
engaged has made you forget the outrage at your hands 
which I have to complain of, I hope you will feel dis- 
posed to give me satisfaction." 


The allusion of the words italicized was crushing. 
No one could comprehend their meaning so completely 
as Rohan himself, who had lent himself to all manner 
of low tricks and " dirty transactions/' 

The Chevalier accepted the challenge for nine o'clock 
on the following morning, and fixed himself the rendez- 
vous at the Porte Saint- Antoine. 

Alas for all Voltaire's fencing-practice, his determi- 
nation, his courage, his magnificently bitter challenge ! 
The wretch Rohan told the affair to his family, and 
thereupon all the Rohans in existence rushed to the 
palace, and Voltaire was quietly carried off to the 
Bastille ! 

There he was kept incarcerated for a fortnight, and 
only set fi'ee on condition of going to England, in the 
custody of a gaUey-sergeant. 

In one of his letters, he writes as follows respecting 
this phase of his career : — 

'^ I admit, my dear Thieriot, that I touched at Paris ; 
but since I did not see you, you may be sure that I saw 
nobody. I was only seeking one man, the instinct of 
whose cowardice has hidden him from me, as though 
he was aware that I was on his track. Besides, the 
fear of being discovered made me quit more precipi- 
tately than I came." 

Condorcet, in his ^Life of Voltaire,' remarks that, 
after aU, Voltaire ^^ saw that an enemy, who ruled as 
he pleased both the ministers of Government and the 
judges, could equally avoid or destroy him. He, there- 


fore, buried himself in retreat, and disdained to trouble 
himself any longer with revenge, or rather he resolved 
to avenge himself by compelling his enemy to hear re- 
peated — at the sound of the acclamations of all Europe— 
the name he wished to vilify/' 

A thousand to one, however, Bohan cared not a rap 
about it : at any rate, he died comfortably in his skin, 
a lieutenant-general. 

The Comte d'Aktois (afteewards Charles X.) kstd the 

Prince de Conde. 

At one of those hals masques at the Opera, which have 
been the occasion of many a duel, to which additional 
ridicule or horror has sometimes been given by the 
parties fighting and doing execution in their gala cos- 
tume — the Comte d'Artois appeared arm in arm with 
Madame de Carillac — both masked. The Duchesse de 
Bourbon (Princesse d'Orleans) recognized and followed 
them, addressing the parties in a sarcastic style, which, 
though warranted by the usages of a masquerade, was 
not the less oflFensive, especially as the parties were 
conscious of the intent and meaning of the annoyance. 
The fact is, Madame de Carillac had been the mistress 
of the Due de Bourbon, whom she had quitted for the 
Comte d^Artois, to whom the Duchess herself was not 
indifferent. Madame de Carillac, thus annoyed by the 
Duchess, contrived to effect her escape through the 
crowd, when the Duchess, with unbridled fury, endea- 
voured to tear off the mask from the Comte d'Artois, 


who, forgetting for the moment his nsnal gallantry and 
the privileges of the fair sex, crushed the mask of the 
Duchess on her face, and rushed out of the ball-room. 

Two days after, the Duchess gave a grand supper, 
and stated to her numerous guests at table that the 
conduct of the Comte d' Artois had been that of a ruf- 
fian, and that she had felt disposed at the time to call 
in the guard to apprehend him. All the women at 
Court whom the Count had slighted rose up in arms 
against him ; the brutality of his conduct became the 
subject of conversation in every circle, and the general 
opinion was that he could not avail himself of his rank 
to refuse the satisfaction that such a public insult to a 
woman demanded. It was, of course, concluded that 
it became indispensable on the part of the Due de 
Bourbon to call out the oflFender. 

Meanwhile the King, Louis XVI., ordered the Duke 
and Duchess de Bourbon to attend him in his closet, 
where they met the Comte d^Artois, when his Majesty 
commanded that no further notice should be taken by 
any parties of what had occurred. The Duke attempted 
to enter into some explanation, but was instantly si- 
lenced by the King. 

The Duchess and the ladies of the Court, however, 
were by no means satisfied with this decision. The 
Baron de Besenval was sent for by the Queen, Marie 
Antoinette, who asked him what her brother was to do 
under existing circumstances. The Baron replied, that 
he saw no other alternative than a duel ; to which the 


Queen replied^ ^' I am of tlie same opinion^ and the 
King agrees with me ; but do you think my brother 
will adopt this course V* Besenval replied^ that " the 
Count was ignorant of all that was said on the subject; 
but that he should consider it his duty to make him 
acquainted with the public opinion^ as he would rather 
see him dead than dishonoured/' adding that, ''as it 
was an affair of great moment, he would previously 
consult with De Crussel, Captain of the Prince's 
Guards/' "Do so/' replied the Queen, "and settle 
this affair between you." 

A meeting was decided on ; but at the same time it 
was proposed that, as soon as swords were drawn and 
crossed, De Crussel should produce an order from the 
King to separate the combatants ; in other words, the 
duel was to be a sham, merely to satisfy "public 
opinion" with a deception. To this suggestion Be- 
senval refused to comply, justly observing to De 
Crussel and the Comte de Polignac, who proposed it, 
" Pray, gentlemen, are you going to make the Prince 
play a farce ? I never will consent to such an arrange- 
ment." To this De Crussel replied, that "it was 
quite sufficient for the Prince to go to the ground, 
and that the Sovereign had then the right to prevent 

The preliminaries having been arranged, the Comte 
d'Artois went on the following day to the Bois de 
Boulogne, attended by De Crussel, who is said to have 
placed the Prince's best sword in the carriage, a pre- 


caution which could scarcely be necessary under the 
arrangement. Arrived at the Bois, they perceived the 
Due de Bourbon surrounded by several gentlemen. 
Upon seeing them, the Count alighted, and stepping 
towards him said, '' I understand, Sir, that the public 
say we are seeking each other V^ To which the Duke 
replied, taking off his hat, " I am here. Sir, to receive 
your commands.^^ The Count rejoined, "I am here. 
Sir, to fulfil yours.'^ 

After this very courteous preamble both parties drew 
their swords, when the Duke observed, " You are not 
aware. Sir, that the sun shines full upon you.^^ '' You 
are right,^^ answered the Count. ''We had better 
proceed to that wall, where we shall have more shade 
than under these leafless trees.^' The parties then 
placed their drawn swords under their arms, and pro- 
ceeded, conversing with each other, to the appointed 
spot, followed by their two seconds, all other persons 
keeping at a distance. M. de Vibraye, the Duke^s se- 
cond, observing that they had both kept on their 
spurs, which might prove inconvenient, the seconds 
immediately proceeded to unbuckle them, and, while 
so doing, De Vibraye had one of his eyes nearly put 
out by the point of the Duke^s sword. The spurs 
being off, the Duke asked the Princess permission to 
take off his coat, to which proposal the Comte d^Ar- 
tois not only acceded, but threw off his own, 
• De CrussePs suggestion seems to have been over- 
ruled ; at any rate the proposed royal order was not 


produced, and the parties set to. Several lounges 
parsed between them, and the Comte d'Artois was 
evidently impatient and flushed, when the Duke was 
observed to stagger. The seconds, thinking that he 
was wounded, interfered, and begged the parties to 
suspend all further hostility. The Count gallantly 
replied, " It is not for me to offer any opinion ; it is 
for M. le Due de Bourbon to express his wishes. I am 
here at his orders/' The Duke immediately lowered 
his sword, and replied, " I feel penetrated with grati- 
tude at your kindness, and shall never forget the ho- 
nour you have conferred on me.'' The Comte d'Artois 
then opened his arms, and the Duke flew into his 

After this harmless and satisfactory meeting, the 
Count, at the suggestion of the Queen and the Baron 
de Besenval, repaired to the Palais Bourbon, and made 
an ample apology to the insulted Duchess. 

To conclude the farce, a punishment was awarded to 
the combatants, namely, a week's exile ; the Count at 
Choisy, and the Duke at Chantilly. 

There can be no doubt that in this celebrated duel 
much is misrepresented by party feeling. The Comte 
d'Artois behaved with becoming fimmess and gentle- 
manly feeling, and there is not the least foundation, it 
seems, for the story of a bloodless meeting having 
been pre-arranged, although it is not improbable that 
the Due de Bourbon was satisfied in defending himself, 
without a wish of injuring his antagonist, which was 


the more easy, as he remained cool, while the Comit 
was evidently excited. Nevertheless, it must be ad- 
mitted that the whole affair looks very suspicious, pre- 
senting a complexion which, as in other similar meet- 
ings of modem times, no amount of argument can 

There can be no difference of opinion, however, re- 
specting the cause of the transaction, which affords a 
vivid picture of the corruption and manners of the 
times. A woman of the highest rank insults another 
woman who had been her husband^s mistress, not on 
that account, but actually for having become the mis- 
tress of another man, to whom she herself was at- 
tached; and, finally, the foolish husband is made to 
peril life and liberty by fighting the man who might 
have been a favoured rival in his wife's affection ! In 
the contemplation of this strange perversity of morals, 
it is scarcely necessary to stigmatize the ungentle- 
manly deportment of a prince in raising his hand 
against a woman. 

This duel was one of the first affairs of honour that 
occurred under the unfortunate Louis XVI. At that 
epoch an apparent calm reigned throughout the nation, 
but it was the gloomy, sultry tranquillity that precedes 
a storm. The mind of every class of the community 
was too deeply absorbed in reflection to admit of the 
influence of private differences. Thus, the practice of 
duelling seemed to decline, or was confined chiefly to 
the soldiery. Moreover, the sword was no longer 


worn as a mark of distinction in society; and this 
weapon of a " gentleman,^^ whicli in former times was 
always at hand, and drawn on the spur of the moment, 
was now laid aside, and only songhi for with premedi- 
tation. Lastly, the barriers which had divided society 
into castes were gradually overthrown, and rank no 
longer became an excuse for refusing satisfaction to an 
inferior. The writings of the " Philosophers '^ had 
begun to tell, and the process of levelling was ad- 
vancing with gigantic strides throughout the nation. 
The punctilio became less nice when duelling was thus 
'^ vulgarized,^^ whilst a true nobility and a true gen- 
tility existed, naturally separated from the mass, in 
spite of opinion. The time was to come, however, 
when the breaking down of all distinctions into uni- 
versal equality, and the vulgarization of duelling 
operated towards its cessation. For, in France, even 
vice strives to be exclusive. 

The Prince de Conde and the Vicomtb Aoout. 

D^Agout, a captain of the guards, had been courting 
a young widow of the household of the Princesse de 
Conde, and had promised to marry her ; having, how- 
ever, discovered that she had bestowed her favours on 
the Prince, he bitterly reproached her with her dupli- 
city, and retracted his engagement. The lady com- 
plained to her protector, the Prince de Cond^, who 
thereupon required D^Agout to resign his commission 


in his guards. That officer immediately tendered his 
resignation, and at the same time requested to know 
what part of his conduct had exposed him to disgrace. 
To this request the Prince replied, '^that he would 
not keep in his service liars and calumniators.^^ To 
this brutal observation D^Agout answered, ^' Tour 
Highness is aware that, when I took the liberty of 
putting this question, I was no longer in your High- 
nesses service, and will be pleased also to recollect that 
I am a gentleman.^^ — ^' I understand you, Sir,^^ replied 
the Prince, *' and am ready to maintain what I have 
asserted, in whatever manner you may think proper. ^^ 
" Then,ee replied D^Agout, '^ I depend upon your 
Highnesses kindness '^^ and he lost no time in repair- 
ing to the Court at Versailles to secure some protection 
in the event of a fatal result. 

Having succeeded, D^Agout presented himself at 
the carriage window of the Prince, who was changing 
horses at Sevres, and said to him, ^^ My Lord, I come 
to receive your Highnesses orders.^^ ^'Then, Sir,^^ 
replied the Prince, '^ at nine oedock, to-morrow morn- 
ing, I shall be at the entrance of the Bois de Boulogne, 
near the Maillot Gate-^e 

As might be expected, D^Agout was punctual in his 
attendance, accompanied by his brother. Soon after, 
the Prince made his appearance, and at once placed in 
the hands of his adversary a declaration of his having 
"been the aggressor, together with letters of recom- 
mendation to foreign Powers for protection, in the 

VOL. I. T 


event of a fatal issue of the meeting, which might 
reuder his quitting the kingdom advisable. 

Of course D^ A gout could not be otherwise than 
grateful for this courteous, nay, chivalrous proceeding; 
although one would think that an ample apology for 
the outrageous insult would have been far more 
applicable to the case, as it would certainly have 
shown far more generosity and manly feeling. 
D'Agout becomingly expressed his thanks for the 
Princess kindness, and threw oflF his coat. On this the 
Prince said, ^^ No doubt, Sir, by taking oflF your coat, 
yoa expect me to do the same.'^ To which D'Agout 
replied, " I have no right to demand anything from 
your Highness, as I trust implicitly in your hononr, 
and was only anxious to afford your Highness a proof 
of mine/^ The Prince immediately took off his coat, 
and swords were crossed. 

The offended Captain fought with that desperate 
determination which his critical position inspired, and 
the Prince was slightly wounded, when the seconds 
interfered and parted the combatants. 

It is satisfactory to know that shortly after the 
meeting, D^ Agout was promoted by the Prince to the 
rank of major in his Guards. 

On this occasion the King scarcely knew how to 
act ; but the people viewed the duel between a prince \ 
of the blood and an individual of a humble rank, as 
a sign of the times, and the sacrifice of olden preju- 
dices to the novel innovations in manners, that gra- 


dually appeared to level all distinctions, while the 
chivalric portion of the nation compared the Prince de 
Conde to Francis the First. 

The Chevalier d^Eon. 

The Chevalier d^fion was bom at Tonnerre in 1728, 
and had been successively a lawyer, a censor, a poli- 
tical writer, a captain of dragoons, a diplomatist, and 
a fencing-master. Under the cloak of the last pro- 
fession, when giving lessons to the Grand Duke of 
Russia, he was entrusted with a secret and delicate 
mission, which he fulfilled with so mach success that 
he obtained the title of secretary of embassy, the 
rank of captain, and the cross of St. Louis. He was 
subsequently sent to England as minister plenipoten- 
tiary, to ratify the treaty of 1763. 

The Chevalier d^Eon was most expert in all deeds of 
arms, and had fought several duels, in which he always 
came off successfully. When attached to the French 
legation in London, he thought proper to give his 
ambassador, the Comte de Guerchy, a slap in the face ; 
and on complaint being made to the Cabinet of Ver- 
sailles of this desperate conduct, it was decided that 
he should be seized and carried over to France. 
D^Eon, however, being apprised of this project, 
sought refuge in the city, where he was taken up for a 
breach of the peace, having fought with another 
Frenchman, of the name of Vergy, in the open street, 
and at noonday. Thus he managed to get into safe 

T 2 


custody in England^ and made secure from the 
possibility of forced abduction to France. 

One of the most extraordinary facts in this man's 
career is^ that he assumed for a long period female 
attire^ and passed for a woman ; and varioas are the 
reasons advanced for this procedure. By some it was 
Httributed to an order from the Due d'Aiguillon, 
Minister of Foreign Affairs^ prohibiting his appear- 
ance in France except in a female dress ; while lyEon 
pretended that he had assumed this costume to pre- 
serve the honour of De Guerchy, whose face he had 
slapped. Others asserted that he wore this disguise 
to enable the Cabinet of Versailles to throw the blame 
attached to the treaty of 1763 on a woman. How- 
ever, it is certain that he only made his appearance 
in France after the death of both D^Aigmllon and 
Guerchy; and on his return to Paris he presented a 
memorial to Maurepas, the minister at the time, pray- 
ing that the order which enjoined him to wear female 
attire might be revoked, and the following was the 
tenor of this strange application: — ^'I am under the 
necessity of humbly submitting to your lordship that 
the period of my female novitiate is expired, and that 
it is impossible for me to become a professed nun. I 
have been able, in obedience to the orders of the late 
King and his ministers, to remain in petticoats during 
the peace \ but that is quite out of the question in 
time of war. It is necessary for the honour of the 
illustrious house of De Guerchy that I should be 


allowed to continue my military services; such^ at 
least, is the opinion of the whole army and the world. 
I have always thought and acted like Achilles; I 
never wage war with the dead ; and I only kill the 
living when they attack me/' 

In addition to the artificial mystification of his sex, 
it appears that many believed that he was really a 
woman. But this also is explained by a circumstance 
which is as singular as any other in his career. It ap- 
pears that while fencing, he had received a thrust in 
the breast from a foil; a mammary tumour resulted 
from the wound, requiring extirpation ; and, of course, 
as only women in general have breasts to be extir- 
pated, it was immediately reported that D'fion was a 
woman. The report gained credence from his affected 
indifference in removing the erroneous impression, and 
his repeated refusal to give a satisfactory reply to 
questions put to him on this doubtful subject. 

The Comte de Guerchy, whom he had slapped, was 
dead ; but his only son was living, and anxious to wipe 
off in D'Eon's blood the unavenged insult offered to 
his family. But the Countess, his mother, justly ap- 
prehensive of the issue of a meeting between the 
young Count and the most experienced swordman in 
the country, supplicated the minister to exert his in- 
fluence, and reject the application of the dubious 
D'fion for permission to doff his disguise — the only 
security agaiust the contemplated duel. The injunc- 
tion to wear a female garb was consequently renewed ; 


and the pension of £500 per annnm granted to him by 
Louis XV. was continued on this express condition. 

This strange position exposed our disguised hero to 
many curious scenes and insults; and having one 
night involved himself in a serious quarrel at the 
theatre, he was sent a close prisoner to the citadel of 

At the revolution of 1789, D^Eon returned to Eng- 
land, having resumed his male attire, and gave lessons 
once more in the sword exercise, fencing in public, and 
not unfrequently with the Prince of Wales, then about 
six-and-twenty years of age. 

It was in one of these public assaults at arms that 
D^Eon met the scarcely less famous Chevalier de Saint- 
Georges, in the presence of the greatest personages 
of the day, and the handsomest ladies of England. 
D^fion carried oflF all the honours of the day, having 
hit Saint-Georges seven times during the splendid 

This extraordinary man died in London in the year 
1810, at the advanced age of eighty-one, when the 
celebrated medical friar and favourite of Carlton 
House, Pere Elysee, after a post-mortem examination, 
put the mooted question beyond further doubt by the 
oflBcial assertion of the manhood of the defunct. 

Perhaps, however, the most inexplicable statements 
respecting this man are those of his alleged amours. 
According to the last writer who has recently spoken 
of the Chevalier d^Eon, the fellow was not only the 


favourite of a royal mistress, the lover of an empress 
and queen, but, most wonderful to tell, the father of a 
king — our George the Fourth !* Certainly George 
the Fourth was wayward enough to make it likely that 
he had issued from such a rascallion, — if it ^cere not 
common enough to find the best of parents, physically 
and morally well endowed, giving birth to physical and 
moral monsters; but there is something exquisitely 
droll and strangely absurd in this inexplicable slander* 
Charlotte Sophia, the wife of George the Third, was 
the very model of decorum, — devout, rigid in the ob- 
servance of all the moral duties, — and those who love 
or admire such duties the least, can scarcely deny that, 
in this queen, they contributed to a great and striking 
reformation of manners, as far as such was possible in 
a generation so deplorably dissolute and abandoned.f 

* Favori d'une favorite, amant d'une imp^ratrice, pere d'lm 
roi (le prince de Galles) ! — E. Colombey, * Histoire Anecdotique 
du Duel/ p. 254. 

t The mystery of the Chevalier d'Eon is not yet explained. 
An English surgeon as well as Pere filys^e, declared him to be 
a man ; but after examining the mass of notices respecting this 
famous "he-she," as he is called in the 'Gentleman's Maga- 
zine,' I think it likely that he was one of those apparently 
doubtful beings termed hermaphrodites, which puzzled the 
ancients. Two facts seem to warrant this opinion ; it is said 
that his father earnestly wished for a boy at his birth, and on 
being disappointed resolved to bring him up as such — an absurd 
resolution if there were no apparent doubts respecting his sex at 
the time; in 1777 a wager of £700 was laid that he was a 
woman ; and it was enforced at a trial before Lord Mansfield, 
when two witnesses positively swore to the fact — of course 



The Chevalier de Sajnt-Geoegbs. 

This worthy rival of the Chevalier d^fion, both in 
swordmanship, fashionable popularity, and wayward 
notoriety, was a man of colour, a mulatto, being the 
Hon of a M. de Boulogne, a receiver-general at the 
island of Guadaloupe, in the French West Indies, and 
a negress. What education he received is not on re- 
cord, but it is positively stated that he was placed at 
an early age in the hands of La Boissiere, a celebrated 
fencing-master of the time. The various steps of his 
subsequent rise in the world would doubtless be inter- 
esting if known ; but, after all, skill, that strikes the 
eye and gratifies the fancy, is rarely long in securing 
patronage, both among the public and among those 
who are ever ready to turn such manifestations to 

His skill in arms and his numerous duels rendered 

" to the best of their belief *'-— and his lordship expressing bis 
horror of the transaction, but allowing the fairness of the 
wager. No attempt was made to contradict the evidence of the 
Chevalier being a woman, and so the verdict was for the plain- 
tiff, with costs, which was, however, subsequently set* aside by 
the defendant, pleading a late Act of Parliament. It was after 
the decision, legally establishing his sex, and a similar procedure 
in France, that he put on female attire, which he continued to 
wear to his death. Curious anecdotes of him, as a " woman," 
will be found in Croker's Notes to Horace Walpole's ' Letters to 
the Earl of Hertford,* Hannah More's * Memoirs,' and the 
* Gentleman's Magazine.* See also Jesse's * George Selwyn and 
his Contemporaries,' vol. i. p. 280, et seq. 


him such a favourite among the ladies, that his dark 
complexion and woolly head were forgotten. He 
seems, also, to have had a talent for comic opera and 
music. According to Grrimm, he had great talent, was 
the most skilful fencer in Prance, and one of the leaders 
of amateur concerts. 

The son of the celebrated La Boissiere applied to 
him the words of Ariosto, ^'Nature made him, and 
then broke the mould.'^ Grisier declares that *^he 
was the most extraordinary man ever met with in the 
science of fencing.^' 

He was appointed equerry to Madame de Montres- 
son, whom the Duke of Orleans had privately married, 
and then Captain in the Guards of his son, the Due de 
Chartres. In 1776 he was anxious to become manager 
of the Opera; but the actresses and ballet-dancers, 
headed by the " stars ^' of the time, supplicated the 
Queen not to degrade the dignity of the Royal Academy 
of Music by placing it under the direction of a mulatto ! 
The Queen yielded to their prayer, and by so doing 
made a deadly enemy of the man, raising into activity 
all the implacable ferocity of his negro nature, which 
was at least equal to that of his white compeers in the 
terrible drama into which he plunged at the Revolu- 
tion. It was to this vindictive feeling against that 
unfortunate Princess that his exertions against the 
royal family were attributed. He was foremost in the 
popular meetings of that period, and was sent to the 
Emigres at Tournai, on a secret mission, by the Duke of 


Orleans, a service of considerable danger, and one in 
which he would have forfeited his life but for the go- 
vernor of the town, who enabled him to eflPect his es- 
cape. After this, Saint-Georges raised a regiment of 
light cavalry, which he commanded under Dumouriez, 
whom, however, he afterwards denounced to the Con- 
vention. Notwithstanding his Jacobinical exertions, 
he would have been sacrificed in his turn, but for the 
9th Thermidor, which Uberated him from prison. 

He is said to have been an excellent musician, amia- 
ble and poUshed in his manners, and of a most agreeable 
conversation. His humanity and charitable disposi- 
tion were universally acknowledged ; and, although he 
engaged in many duels, he had generally been the in- 
sulted party, and was never known to avail himself of 
his reputation to insult any one less skilled in the sci- 
ence of destruction. To quarrelsome and troublesome 
young men he was often known to give a salutary les- 
son ; and an instance is related of his meeting at Dun- 
kirk, in the company of several ladies, a young officer 
of Hussars, who, not knowing him, was boasting of his 
skill as a swordman, and asserting that no fencer in 
France was a match for him. ^' Did you ever meet 
the famous Saint-Georges V asked one of the ladies. 
Ay, many a time ! He couldn^t stand a moment be- 
fore me !" answered the husssar, twirling his mous- 
taches. ^^ That is strange !" observed Saint-Georges. 
^ I should much like to have a trial of skill with vou, 


young man. Perhaps the ladies could procure us foilS; 


and an assault d'armes might entertain them/^ The 
young officer assented to the proposal with a smile of 
contempt ; foils, belonging to the brother of the lady 
of the house, were produced, and without hesitation 
the hussar was preparing to shame his aged antago- 
nist, who, politely addressing the ladies, asked them 
to name the buttons he should touch on his adversary's 
doliman. The delighted women, glad to see a cox- 
comb corrected, named the number of the buttons. 
The contest commenced. 

'^ One P' instantly exclaimed Saint- Georges, conti- 
nuing as follows : — ^' Not bad. Sir ; but. Two — Very 
good, ah ! Fowr — Well parried ; but still Five — Don^t 
get flurried. Sir. — Six, too wild. — Seven, and the game, 
Sir V And in an instant after he whipped the foil out 
of the hand of the boaster, who, infuriated by rage 
and shame, wanted immediate satisfaction! Saint- 
Georges quietly said to him, '^ Young man, your time 
is not yet come ; you may still live to serve your coun- 
try j but recollect you have met Saint-Georges, for I 
am the very person who you said could never prove a 
match for you.^^ The lesson was a severe one. The 
young oflScer, confused, and concealing as well as he 
could his offended vanity, withdrew, and never after 
visited at the house. 

One day Saint-Georges fell in with a fencing-master 
who became very impertinent, and finally asked the 
Chevalier where he could have the pleasure of trying 
his skill. " Under the Arche Marion,'^ replied Saint- 


Georges, "if you like; I shall be there to-morrow 
morning at six o^clock/' 

The fencing-master stared at him wildly; Saint- 
Georges was stem ; it was, therefore, a serious chal- 
lenge ; but there was no help for it ; and at the ap- 
pointed hour he repaired to the spot, where he was 
met by Saint-Georges, with a foil in his hand. 

E71 ga/i'de was soon uttered and the men were in 
position, but in the first bout the Chevalier sent his 
antagonist's weapon flying in the air. The fencing- 
master was rather astonished at the result, and seemed 
inclined to have another lesson ; whereupon, the che- 
valier made a sign to a gigantic negro whom he had 
posted at a distance, and who ran up with an armfiil 
of foils. 

"What's all this for?'' asked the fencing-master, 
with staring eyes. 

'^ Only to teach you to live quietly." 
And Saint-Georges proceeded forthwith to break 
the whole bundle of foils qu his body. 

The Chevalier Saint-Georges never found but one 
fencer worthy of him, the Chevalier d'Eon, as before 
stated. He was also the best shot of his time. One 
of his feats was throwing up two crown-pieces in the 
air, and hitting them both with his pistols. 

Notwithstanding the splendid opportunities he had 
enjoyed, and the talents which he evidently possessed, 
Saint- Georges died in a state of poverty in the year 
1799, at the age of fifty-four. 


Ney (afterwards Marshal) and the Fencing 


Ney was eighteen years of age in 1787, and was a 
simple trooper in, a regiment of hussars. He was 
remarkable for his soldierlike appearance, his dex- 
terity in his exercises, and his skilful horsemanship, 
in which he frequently broke in horses that the rough- 
riders could not manage. He was considered the 
best swordman in the corps ; and on him frequently 
devolved the perilous task of fighting the regimental 
battles. The fencing-master of the Chasseurs de 
Vintimille, then in the same garrison with his regi- 
ment, a desperate duelKst, who had wounded the 
fencing-master of Ney^s regiment, having insulted 
the corps, it was decided that the bravest and most 
dexterous hussar should be selected to chastise him. 
The choice fell on Ney. The parties met, sabres were 
drawn, when lo I Ney felt himself dragged back by 
the tail ! It was the colonel of his regiment who had 
thus seized him ; and he was immediately thrown into 
the '' cells.'' 

As duelling was at this period punishable with 
death, Ney's life was perilled; but beloved both by 
officers and men, the corps insisted upon his libera- 
tion; and the times were such that their application 
could not well be rejected by the authorities. Ney 
was consequently liberated, but the first use he made 
of his freedom was to seek out his antagonist and 



renew the interrupted contest. The parties met 
secretly, and the bragging fencing-master received a 
sabre-wound in the sword-arm that crippled him for 
life. When Ney subsequently rose in rank and for- 
tune, he sought his former antagonist, and settled on 
him a handsome annuity. 


The Baeon de C and the Chevalier de T . 

This was a very odd and murderous duel. Two 
oflBcers of the French Guards, whose initials only are 
given, were in company, and one of them, the Baron 

de C , a colonel, was boasting of his good fortune 

of never having been obliged to fight a duel. The 

Chevalier de T expressed his surprise, with some 

indirect allusions to his want of courage, observing, 
" How could you avoid fighting when insulted V The 
Colonel replied, "That he had never given offence, 
and that no one had ever presumed to insult him. 
Moreover, that on such an occasion he would consider 
the character of the person who had wantonly insulted 
him, ere he demanded satisfaction.^^ 

Upon this statement, the other, in the most inso- 
lent manner, struck him in the face with his glove, 
adding, "Perhaps, Sir, you will not consider this an 
insult V' The Colonel calmly put on his hat and 
walked out of the room. 

The following morning he sent a challenge to his 
aggressor. When they came upon the ground the 
Colonel wore a patch of court-plaister, of the size of a 



crown-piece, on the cheek which had received the 
blow. At the very first lounge he wounded his an- 
tagonist in the sword-arm, when, taking ofl* the 
plaister, he cut oflF an edge of it with a pair of scissors, 
and replacing it on his face, took leave of his adver- 
sary, very politely requesting he would do him the 
honour of letting him know when he recovered from 
his wound. 

As soon as he heard that he was able to hold a 
sword the Colonel was upon him again, his servant 
informing him one morning that a gentleman with a 
patch of court-plaister on his face wanted him below. 
He descended and found his enemy, whom he again 
consented to meet. They met, and the colonel 
wounded him again, cutting oflF another portion of the 
plaister patch. In like manner he called him out 
over and over again, fought and wounded him, cutting 
off pieces of plaister each time, until the patch was 
reduced to the size of a shilling, when he challenged 
him again, and saying to him, '^ This is the last time,^' 
ran him through the body. Then, calmly contem- 
plating the corpse, he observed, " I now take off my 

Horrible as was this chastisement, it must be ad- 
mitted that a man who could so grossly and wantonly 
insult another richly deserved at least something of 
the sort. At the time he inflicted the insult, he little 
knew that he was falling foul of one of the most dex- 
terous swordmen in the land. 


The Due de Beissac's Method op putting a stop to 

Duelling m his Begiment. 

Discipline was compromised by daily quarrels, and 
the King^s regiment, quartered at Nancy, was the 
most noted for the evil. The Due de Brissac was 
charged to put down the practice. On the first day of. 
joining the regiment, he invited all the officers to a 
grand dinner. Nothing could exceed the amenity of 
the new colonel on this occasion, and the suavity of 
his manners and exquisite bonhomie completely cap- 
tivated his guests, who could not help saying to each 
other during dinner, ^' What a jolly time we shall now 
have of it in the regiment V 

When the dessert was served, the Colonel addressed 
the officers as follows, with the blandest smiles imagin- 
able : — " Gentlemen, I hear that you are all rather hot- 
headed, and that afiairs of honour are common affairs 
among you. . . . Don^t for a moment think that I 
consider duelling a crime. ... I am one of those 
who believe that swords are not made to get rusty. . . . 
Therefore, continue to draw your swords as you 
please. . . . Only, before proceeding to the ground, 
have the goodness to come and apprise me of your 
intention — let me know the case, and I will give you 
my opinion on the subject, and then you may go and 
cross swords if you like. You all agree to that, 
gentlemen, do you not V^ 

"Yes, yes. Colonel,'^ resounded on all sides with 
boisterous exultation. 


The Colonel was the first to leave the mess-room. 
He had scarcely entered his quarters when his orderly 

announced two young captains, the Vicomte de R 

and Chevalier Armand de T . 

^^ Well, gentlemen, what is your pleasure ?" asked 
the Colonel. 

'^ Sir,^^ said the Vicomte, " we have merely coijie to 
apprise you that we are going to fight a duel to- 
morrow morning/' 

" Indeed ! Why, I thought you have been friends 
from childhood V 

" Precisely, Colonel ; we are and always will be 
united by the strictest bonds of friendship/' 

'* And yet you wish to fight V 

^^ Certainly, Colonel, and the matter is serious 
enough to account for it. You shall judge for your- 
self,'' said the Chevalier. "I happened to maintain 
that no one can appear at the Palace of Versailles en 
roquelaure et sans poudre ;^ my friend maintained the 
contrary. We took ofience thereat, and we have 
fixed upon a meeting." 

'^The matter is serious enough," said the Colonel, 
gravely. The young men exchanged inquiring looks, 
and the Colonel continued — 

^^ It is evident that the roquelaure is only worn in 
the morning. But who is to say when what is called 
morning is to end ? The Vicomte R has as- 
serted that the roquelaure cannot be worn in the first 

* " In undress coat and unpowdered.'* 
VOL. I. tJ 


part of the day. The Chevalier T asserts the 

contrary. The oflTence is perfectly evident. Fight, 
by all means^ but in snch a case you most fight 
seriously, gentlemen. Remember this — a duel is only 
a ridiculous joke if neither of the parties is killed.'' 

He then shook hands with them, and dismissed tiiem. 

On the following day, on parade, perceiving the two 
captains at the head of their respective companies, 
he went up to one of them, saying, with a tone of 
evident displeasure — 

" Then your aflfair was resultless ?" 

'^ Excuse me, ColoneV said Armand ; " and the 
proof is this magnificent cut I got," showing his arm 
in a sling. 

" Humph ! A mere scratch ! And you actually 
stopped at that ! You forgot that the question was one 
of the greatest consequence ; a question of etiquette ! 
No, no ! that will not do. You must set to work 
again, and one of you must fall P' 

The two captains fought again, and the Vicomte 
Richard received a wound which kept him in bed three 

During this interval several oflScers of the regiment 
applied for leave to fight, but they were requested to 
wait until the quarrel of the two friends should be 
terminated. One morning the Colonel met the Vi- 
comte taking an airing, leaning on the arm of the 

^^Ah!" he exclaimed, "so you have recovered, Sir. 


.... Admirable ! There must be no more delay, 

you must begin the battle again to-morrow 

And this time do let us have an end of it. I really 
don't like protracted quarrels. '^ .... 

The end of it came at last. The two poor friends 
finished the matter in the completest manner; they 
ran each other through, and fell dead on the spot. 
The Vicomte could not make up his mind to survive 
the Chevalier, and the Chevalier was determined not 
to survive the Vicomte. All happened for the best. 

Thereupon the Due de Brissac reassembled the 
officers who were waiting for his permission to fight— 

'* Gentlemen,^' he said, "you will now be able to 
terminate your quarrels. But as I do not wish the 
service to suflTer by this sort of affairs, I only grant 

one permission at a time And it must be 

understood that each quarrel shall be urged to the last 
extremity — just like the one which has just taken place.'' 

The lesson was severe — -horridly severe, but it pro- 
duced the result contemplated by the pitiless Colonel. 
The officers retired silent and sad, and from that day 
the King's regiment became a model regiment-^no 
duels — perfect discipline ! 

We cannot help being horrified at the dreadful per- 
sistence and inflexibihty of the Due de Brissac, thus 
cutting to the quick in order to cure the evil ; but his 
method was far preferable to the frivolity of the Due 
de Richelieu, who had a strange idea of his duties as 
chief constable. One morning M. de Marcellus, a 

u 2 



gentleman of Bordeaux, grandfather of the Count de 
Marcellus, complained to the Marshal of some wretch 
who had spat in his face. 

'^ Low fellow ! Go and wash yourself," said Richelieu. 

The deep rehgious sentiments of M. Marcellus pre- 
vented him from seeking satisfaction by a duel. As 
he could get no reparation from the legal authority 
he fell back on Christian resignation ; but alas ! the 
ignominious aflTair was exhumed and publicly bruited 
subsequently at the grand assembly of the notables 
in 1787. Elected a deputy, M. Marcellus was shunned 
by all the gentlemen of his province ; they avoided 
him as though he was pest-stricken. They openly 
taunted him with the insult he had received un- 
avenged, and told him that none of them would sit 
beside him. At length his religious scruples gave 
away in the terrible ordeal; he challenged one of 
these gentlemen, and was killed. 

French Actors and Actresses. 

At the end of the eighteenth century the French actors 
had not acquired any rise in social position or estima- 
tion, but still they took a fancy to the privilege of 
" gentlemen," and fought duels ; some of them, how- 
ever, in the theatre, — as it were, continuing the drama 
in earnest. On one occasion, Florence and Larive, as 
soon as the play was ended, set to with swords, and 
would have hacked each other to pieces had they not 
been separated. On the following morning they re- 



paired to the Champs Elysees, went at it again, but 
did not do each other much harm. Larive several 
times disarmed Florence, and they left the ground 
without losing a drop of blood. 

Larive was less fortunate in a duel with the cele- 
brated Talma, who wounded him seriously. 

A love affair gave rise to a duel in the Bois de Bou- 
logne, between a danseuse of the opera. Mademoiselle 
Theodore, and a chanteuse of the same theatre. 

The seconds of the former were Mesdemoiselles Fel 
and Charmoy, and those of the latter, Mesdemoiselles 
Guimard and Geslin. They were to fight with pistols. 
The two adversaries, costumed as Amazons, were on 
the point of taking aim when their lover arrived on 
the scene, and rushed in between them. He made 
them a most affecting speech, which, however, only 
made the hen-sparrows more savage; but whilst 
pirouetting and gesticulating in his impassioned ora- 
tory, he cleverly managed to get possession of the 
pistols, which he deposited in a wet place. The 
pistols, consequently, did not go off, and then the two 
rivals were induced to give each other the kiss of peace. 

Numerous duels among Frenchwomen are on record. 
Among the rest, one fought with swords by the 
Henriette Sylvie, of Moliere, with another woman, 
both in male attire. In the letters of Madame Du- 
noyer, a case is mentioned of a lady of Beauclaire 
and a young lady of rank, who fought with swords in 
their garden, and would have killed each other had 


they not been separated ; this meeting had been pre- 
ceded by a regular challenge. 

A duel took place on the Boulevard St. Antoine 
between two ladies of doubtful virtue, in which they 
inflicted on each other's face and bosom several 
wounds ; two points at which female jealousy would 
naturally aim. St. Foix relates the case of Made- 
moiselle Durieux, who in the open street fought her 
lover, of the name of Antinotti. 

But the most celebrated female duellist was the 
actress Maupin, one of the performers at the opera. 
Serane, the famous fencing-master, was one of her 
lovers, and from him she received many valuable 
lessons. Being insulted one day, by an actor, she 
called him out, but as he refiised to give her satisfac- 
tion, she carried ofi" his watch and his snufiP-box as 
trophies of her victory. Another performer having 
presumed to oflend her, on his declining a meeting, 
was obliged to kneel down before her, and implore 
forgiveness. One evening at a ball, having behaved 
in a very rude manner to a lady, she was requested to 
leave the room, which she did on the condition that those 
gentlemen who had warmly espoused the offended lady^s 
cause should ^^ go out '' with her. To this proposal 
they agreed ; when, after a hard combat, she killed 
them all, and quietly returned to the ball-room. This 
famous affair occurred in the reign of Louis XIV., and 
the king granted her a pardon. She withdrew to 
Brussels, where she became the mistress of the Elector 


of Bavaria. However, she soon after returned to the 
Parisian opera, and died in 1707, at the age of thirty- 

Talma and Naudet. 

The great Revolution burst upon the nation. The 
Bastille was taken. Duelling ceased for a time in the 
ruins of the past. Two tragedians revived it in 1 790. 

Talma was a partisan of the new ideas ; Naudet was 
for the past or passing ; nor was he alone of that 
" ilk '' at the Th^&tre Fran^ais, which remained faith- 
ftj to the ancient order of things. In a certain dis- 
agreement with the audience, respecting some repre- 
sentation, Naudet was hissed, and Talma applauded to 
the skies in their respective addresses in explanation. 
After the play, Naudet gave way to the expression of 
much temper, which he aggravated by giving Talma 
a slap in the face. A duel-with pistols was the result. 
Talma missed Naudet, who fired in the air. 

Charles Lameth and Castries. 

This was a revolutionary duel. Charles Lameth on 
entering the tribune was saluted with the- most out- 
rageous denunciations. In the midst of this tempest of 
invective, Castries went up to him, exclaiming, at the 
top of his voice, that he was ready to meet in mor- 
tal combat all the chiefs of the popular party. Lameth 
took up the glove, and resolved to settle the matter 
forthwith. His seconds were Menou and Barnave. 
It was getting late ; objects were scarcely distinguish- 



able ; swords were the weapons ; they set to, and at 
the instant when Lameth delivered a lounge, which 
was intended to kill his opponent, but which passed 
harmlessly outside, he raised his left hand to turn off 
his enemy^s sword, and the point, lacerating his wrist 
and entire fore-arm, penetrated deep enough to inflict 
a dangerous wound in his body. As soon as the 
people heard of the transaction and its consequences, 
a mob rushed to the house of Castries in the Rue de* 
Varennes, and laid it in ruins. 

At this period single combats were considered a de- 
testable relic of aristocracy and courtly corruption, 
and this act of violence on the part of the mob was 
called " a sublime movement of the people.^' In one 
of his most eloquent speeches, Mirabeau thus alludes 
to the event : — " You must establish in the empire an 
implicit obedience to legitimate authorities, and re- 
press among us a handful of insolent conspirators. 
Ah ! gentlemen, it is for their own security that I in- 
voke your severity. Are you not aware that in this 
destruction, for you cannot call it the dilapidation of a 
proscribed house, the people bowed religiously before 
the image of their Sovereign, before the portrait of the 
chief magistrate of the nation, the executor of the 
laws, whom they venerated, although under the in- 
fluence of a generous fury ?* Are you not aware that 
this people, in the midst of their excitement, showed 

* It appears that in the destruction of everything the mob 
found in the house, they respected a portrait of the King. 


their respect for age and for misfortune, by their deli- 
cate attention to Madame de Castries? Are you not 
aware that the people, in quitting these premises, 
which they had destroyed, it may be said with order 
and calmness, insisted that the pockets of every indi- 
vidual should be searched, so that no base action 
might tarnish a just revenge ? Such is true honour, 
which the prejudices and atrocity of gladiators can 
never display/^ 

This is but one of the many instances which show 
that general attention at the time was absorbed by the 
actors of the political drama. Paris was convinced 
that not only France but all humanity was interested 
in the contest at the tribune, where the old world was 
struggling against the strangling clutch of the new; 
and it seemed evident that the partisans of privilege, 
constantly beaten in the tribune, had formed the pro- 
ject of ending the struggle by putting an end to their 

Such being the general conviction, it is not sur- 
prising that the soldiery stepped forward, and lent 
their aid to the cause of the people. The Chasseurs 
of the Battalion of Saint-Marguerite made the follow- 
ing resolution : — ^^ Every chasseur will attend in his 
turn the meetings of the National Assembly ; he will 
consider as personal every quarrel provoked with the 
patriot-deputies, and will defend them to the last drop 
of his blood.^^ 

Nor was that all. The citizen Boyer conceived the 



valiant inspiration of taking upon himself all sjSairs of 
honour brought about by the ^^ Bhicks/* as the enemies 
of the people were called. He issued the following ma- 
nifesto : — " I swear that the entire earth will not be big 
enough to admit of the escape of a man who shall have 
wounded a deputy. ... I have weapons that the hands 
of patriotism have been pleased to make for me ; all 
are familiar to me ; I am not particular as to any of 
them ; all of them will suit me, provided the result be 
death" At the bottom of this universal challenge he 
gave this address, ^^ Passage du Bois de Boulogne, 
Faubourg Saint-Denis." An office was opened to re- 
ceive the challenges; heaps of challenges poured in, 
not directed personally against Boyer, but merely to 
cross swords with him. He was obliged to accept the aid 
of fifty patriot collaborateurs for the business, forming 
them into a sort of body-guard, under the title of the 
Battalion of Spadassinicides, This was taking the bull 
by the horns with a vengeance, and the result was that 
Boyer and his men waited in vain for an opportunity 
to draw their swords ; they were condemned to a com- 
plete inactivity. 

After the violent event just described, however, the 
municipal body of Paris petitioned the National As- 
sembly to frame a law against the practice of duelling, 
and " to wield the sword of justice in punishing the 
perverse individual who had shed the blood of one of 
the representatives of the people, and whose crime the 
capital had justly avenged. The address was received 


with tumultuous applause, both by the audience and 
the members of the Assembly, when the member for 
Angouleme, a M. Roy, exclaimed, ^^ that none but ruf- 
fians could applaud such a proposal ;" for which im- 
prudence he was sentenced to three days^ imprison- 
ment. On this occasion Bamave made a most elo- 
quent speech against duelling, but still we find him, 
three months after, fighting a duel, and wounding 
Cazales, another deputy. 

Not only were duels avoided in these feaxful times, 
but any person who insulted one of the representatives 
of the people, or who acted with violence towards him, 
was denounced as a conspii^tor and an assassin. This 
was instanced in the case of Grangeneuve, who had 
quarrelled with Jouneau, to whom he applied an in- 
sulting epithet, to which the other replied, " You have 
insulted me ! Are you a man of honour V — " I am,^^ 
replied Grangeneuve. ^^ Then meet me to-morrow at 
the Bois de Boulogne, with pistols.'^ "I will meet 
you to-morrow in the National Assembly,^' replied his 
antagonist. — " The world, then, will pronounce you a 

coward.^' — "And you a -/' on which Jouneau 

slapped his face. Grangeneuve retorted with a stone, 
which he picked up, and a caning, with kicks and 
cuffs, ensued. 

All the eloquence of these desperate madmen, how- 
ever, could not prevent occasional meetings ; and the 
National Assembly at last abrogated all former laws 
prohibiting single combat, and passed an amnesty in 


favour of those transgressors who had been prosecuted 
agreeably to their enactments. 

Barnave and the Negro Cazales. 

This was one of the first " affairs '^ among the raging 
republicans. On the 11th of August, 1790, in the 
Assemblee Nationale, Oudard demanded, on behalf of 
the Committee of Inquiry, that certain insinuations 
of Ch&telet should be repelled. His speech was fol- 
lowed by a tempest of cries. The negro member, 
Cazales, shoated out that all the members of the Left 
were brigands. Whilst addressing these words to all 
the patriots^ he glanced so significantly at Barnave 
that the latter could not help saying to the burly 
negro, " If you are speaking collectively, your words 
are too silly to be noticed by me ; but if you mean to 
insult me personally, I will not sufier it." " I meant 
it for you," replied Cazales. The infuriated patriot 
could no longer contain himself, and applied to Cazales 
the most energetic word in the French language, in 
both its meanings. On the following morning the two 
deputies met in the Bois de Boulogne. Bamave's se- 
cond was A. Lameth, and Saint- Simon was with Ca- 
zales. Barnave fired first and missed. Cazales took 
a long aim, but also missed. ^^ Mon Dieu /" he ex- 
claimed, " I hope you will excuse me !" " Oh, I must 
wait your convenience," replied Barnave. 

Whilst the seconds were re-loading the pistols the 
two adversaries had a quiet conversation. 


"It would grieve me to kill you/^ said Cazales, 
^^but really you are much in my way. However, I 
only want to keep you from tlie tribune for a while/^ 

" I am more generous," replied Bamave ; " I liave 
scarcely a wish to touch you, for you are the only ora- 
tor on your side, whereas on mine, my absence would 
not be perceptible." 

After this bout of pleasant wit they fired again. 
Bamave^s ball struck Cazales in the forehead, but only 
produced a contusion, which was not dangerous ; his 
hat deadened the shot. 


The noirs, or old party of the Revolution, not only 
quarrelled with the patriots, but among themselves. 
M. de Bouille fought a duel with M. de Latour, and 
shot him dead. 

The duel between Mirabeau and Latour-Maubourg 
was fought with swords. Mirabeau received a wound 
which confined him to his bed for a long time, and 
when his brother came to see him, he said to him, " I 
am much obliged for your visit. Believe me, it is the 
more agreeable to me because you will never give an 
opportunity of doing the same to you.'^ 

This was not Mirabeau' s first afiair. At the age of 
eighteen he had fought at La Rochelle with a young 
officer of dragoons, whom he wounded. At the time 
when he was engaged in a divorce suit with his wife, 
he fought three of the inhabitants of Aix, who pre- 


sented themselves as champions of the countess^ and 
ran one of them through the arm. 

Camille Desmoulins and Two Actors. 

Being insulted at the Theatre Fran9ai8 by two 
players, Camille Desmoulins only replied to the double 
provocation with a gesture of contempt ; and in hie 
newspaper, or at the tribune, launched forth as follows 
against the practice of duelling : — 

" One may brave death in the cause of liberty for 
one^s country, and I feel that I could stretch my neck 
out of my litter, and hold forth my throat to the 
sword of Antony. I feel that I could possess suflB- 
cient fortitude to ascend the scaflPold with a mingled 
sentiment of pleasure. Such is the courage which I 
have received, not from nature — which shudders at the 
aspect of death — ^but from philosophy. To be assassi- 
nated by the bravo who provokes me, is to be stung 
by a tarantula. I should have to spend all my days 
in the Bois de Boulogne were I to give satisfaction to 
all those whom my frankness ofiFends. I may be accused 
of cowardice; but I apprehend that the times are 
not far distant when we shall have ample opportunities 
of dying in a more glorious and useful manner. Then 
the love of my country will inspire me again with that 
courage which enabled me to mount a table at the 
Palais Royal, and be the first to assume the national 
cockade." The poor fellow had only anticipated his 
impending fate — doomed soon after to fall under the 
rival power of Bobespierre. 





At the commencement of the latter half of the eight- 
eenth century in England, the sword was still worn by 
gentlemen, and, as a matter of course, it could not 
help being frequently "whipped out,^' as occasion 
might require. 

Mr. Paul and Mr. Dalton. 

(a. d. 1751.) 

The names of these beUigerents are unknown to 
fame, but still the affair is terribly interesting on 
account of the suspicion of foul play, from which it 
was difficult to divest the transaction. It occurred on 
the 24th of May, 1751, the birthday of George, 
Prince of Wales, which, according to the chronicler 
of the time, was "observed with great marks of 
loyalty and affection.^' 

This duel was fought in a house near Grosvenor 



Square, about twelve o'clock at night. The quarrel arose 
in company with some ladies of reputation, to one of 
whom Mr. Dalton was soon to be married, and the 
parties separated with anger, especially Mr. Paul, who 
subsequently went in a sedan-chair to Mr. Dalton's 
lodgings, about ten o'clock at night, and not finding 
him at home, sent him the following billet^ which he 
received at the tavern by the hands of his own ser- 
vant : — 

'^ Sir, — ^We have long been intimate friends, but 
your behaviour in this affair cannot be passed over. 
The least degree of satisfaction that any gentleman 
can expect is all that is required by — ^Yours, etc. P.8, 
I am sorry I am ohliged to send for you here, as it may 
be thought wrong/' 

Mr. Dalton, after reading this to his friend, hastened 
home, and, in a few minutes after entering the room 
where Mr. Paul was waiting for him, the servant heard 
a noise like fencing, but before he could get upstairs 
he heard the street door shut ; and on entering the 
parlour found his master expiring, the candles put out, 
and Mr. Paul fled ! 

The deceased had only one wound, in the upper part 
of his left breast, but inclining downwards, which was 
hardly capable of being received in an upright pos- 
ture ; and it led, at the coroner's inquest, to a verdict 
of wilful murder, Mr. Paul never submitted to his 
trial, and was outlawed ; but, doubtless, in those times 
the horrid affair was only ^^ a nine days' wonder." 


Colonel Jonah Barrington and Mr. Gilbert. 

(a.d. 1760.) 

In the countiy districts of Ireland the wager of 
battle was sometimes decided on horseback, after the 
Arab fashion. There was a notable duello of this 
description some time about the year 1760, between a 
sturdy veteran. Colonel Jonah Barrington, and a 
neighbour, Mr. Gilbert. Their animosities had been 
increasing daily; there was an unhealthy state of 
secret hostility, not openly declared, until some judi- 
cious friends at last interfered, and, from a fear that 
the feud might descend by way of vendetta to the in- 
nocent offspring, pressed that the matter should be 
cleared off in an open, honest, legitimate way. To 
their humane argument, the champions, to their credit 
be it said, at once acceded. 

The ground was fixed to be the Green of Mary- 
borough — the distance one hundred yards of race — the 
weapons two holster pistols charged with ball and 
swan-drops — broadsword and dirk. The engagement 
had been advertised for some six months previous, and 
the whole country round flocked to see the exciting 
spectacle. The ground was kept, as at a race, by 
master gamekeepers and huntsmen. 

There was much slashing and hewing. The veteran 
received three cuts early in the fight ; but, as both 
wore steel caps under their hats, there was no very 
serious danger to be looked for. The other gentle- 

vol. I. X 


man had been pierced through the thigh^ bat not so as 
to caase him serioos inconvenience. At last the vete- 
ran, growing tired of the struggle, closed upon his 
adversary, stabbed his horse several times^ and, with 
his dagger at his enemy's throat, was proclaimed the 
victor. Curious to say, the well-intentioned purpose 
of the judicious friends who arranged the meeting was 
happily carried out, for they became sworn friends on 
the very field.* 

An Irish Quartette Duel, 
(a.d. 1760.) 

It is on record that a curious quartette duel was 
fought between Sir John Boiu'ke, of Ghirsk, and 
Amby Bodkin, Esq., together with their seconds. The 
practice was spoken of as very exciting; and the 
little heir of the family — then only some five or six 
years of age — was brought out and hoisted upon men's 
shoulders to " see papa fight.'' An umpire gave the 
signal by firing a pistol, but it is not mentioned in 
what place of security he had posted himself. At the 
first discharge the principals were slightly wounded, but 
not at all so seriously as to interfere with the prosecu- 
tion of the sport. The next volley, the chronicler — 
with an allowable enthusiasm — tells us, ^^ told better." 
Both the seconds and Amby Bodkin, Esq., were seen 
tottering on the ground. " They were well hit," the 
chronicler adds, with undisguised satisfaction, f 

* * All the Year Bound,* May 10, 1862. 
t TJhi supra. 


John Wilkes and Earl Talbot. 
(a.d. 1762.) 

The quarrel between these distinguished characters 
originated in words published in the ^ North Briton/ 
containing reflections injurious to the feelings of Earl 
Talbot. Various letters passed between the parties, 
and the posture of the times rendering them of na- 
tional importance, this personal contest itself was 
viewed with no ordinary degree of interest. The 
following letter shows the bearing and determination 
of Colonel Wilkes — for he was a sort of militaire as 
well as a politician of astonishing pertinacity. 

'^To Colonel Berkeley (afterwards Lord Bottetourt). 
'* Sir, — Lord Talbot, by your message, has at last 
brought this most important question to the precise 
point where my first answer to his lordship fixed it, if 
ho preferred that. As you have only seen the two 
last letters, I must entreat you to cast your eye over 
those preceding, because I apprehend they will justify 
an observation or two I made this morning, when I 
had the honour of paying my compliments to you at 
camp. Be assured that, if I am between heaven and 
earth, I will be on Tuesday eveninp at Tilbury^s, the 
Red Lion, at Bagshot, and on Wednesday morning 
will play this duet with his lordship. It is a real satis- 
faction to me that his lordship is to be accompanied by 
a gentleman of Colonel Berkeley's '»vorth and honour. 
This will be delivered to you by my adjutant, who 

X 2 


^tt^eiids XL^ to Bagsbot. I eIi&II not brmg* sdt sesraxit 
iritL iD€r from tlie fear of any of the parties liesDg 
kn^ywn. Mj pistols onlr^ or his lordship's^ «t his 
option, shall decide this point. ... I hare Lcsd 
hmce^s leave of absence few ten days. — I am, Ac 

'' P. S. — I hope we may make a partie quarree fat 
supper on Tuesday at Bagshot.'* 

Evidently John Wilkes was a fire-eater worthy of the 
swaggering days of Charles II., or those of the First 
Napoleon's rollicking troopers; and the following letter^ 
describing the whole affiur, will tend, I think, to 
heighten and complete the picture of his character, as 
well as give an idea of that of his opponent, who 
seems to have tried his patience as well as his powder. 
The letter is addressed to Earl Temple : — 

" I came here at three this afternoon, and about five 
I was told that Lord Talbot and Colonel Berkeley were 
in the house. Lord Talbot had been there at one, and 
was gone again, leaving a message, however, that he 
would soon return. I had continued in the room 
where I was at my first coming, for fear of raising 
any suspicion. I sent a compliment to Colonel Berke- 
ley, and that I wished to see him ; he was so obliging as 
to come to me directly. I told him that I suppose we 
were to sup together with Lord Talbot, whom I was 
ready to attend as became a private gentleman ; and 
that he and Mr. Harris (Wilkes's adjutant) as our se- 
conds would settle the business of the next morning. 



Berkeley said that his lordsliip desired to finisli the 
business immediately. I replied that the appointment 
was to snp together that evening, and to fight in the 
morning; that in consequence of such an arrange- 
ment I had, like an idle man of pleasure, put oflF some 
business of real importance, which I meant to settle 
before I went to bed. I added that I was come from 
Medmenham Abbey,* where the jovial monks of St. 
Francis had kept me up till four in the morning ; that the 
world would therefore conclude that I was drunk, and 
form no favourable opinion of his Lordship from a 
duel at such a time ; that it more became us both to 
take a cool hour of the next morning, and as early a 
one as was agreeable to his lordship. Berkeley said 
that he had undertaken to bring us together, and we 
were both now at Bagshot, he would leave us to settle 
our own business. He then asked me if I would go 
with him to his lordship. I said I would any moment 
he pleased. We went directly, with my adjutant. 

^^ I found his lordship in an agony of passion. He 
said that I had injured him, that he was not used to be 
injured or insulted. What did I mean ? Did I, or did 
I not write the ^ North Briton^ of August 21st, which 
affronted his honour ? He would know ; he insisted 
on a direct answer; here were his pistols. I replied 
that he would soon use them ; that I desired to know 
by what right his lordship catechised me about a paper 
which did not bear my name ; that I should never re- 
* Noted for the orgies of Wilkes and his "monks." 


solve the question to him till he made out the right of 
putting it, and that if I could have entertained any 
other idea I was too well bred to have given his lord- 
ship and Colonel Berkeley the trouble of coming to 
Bagshot. I observed that I was a private EngUsh 
gentleman, perfectly free and independent, which I 
held to be a character of the highest dignity ; that I 
obeyed with pleasure a gracious sovereign, but would 
never submit to the arbitrary dictates of a fellow- 
subject — ^a Lord Steward of his Household — my su- 
perior, indeed, in rank, fortune, abilities, but my equal 
only in honour, courage, and liberty. 

" His lordship then asked me if I would fight him 
that evening. I said that I preferred the next morn- 
ing, as it had been settled before, and gave my rea- 
sons. His lordship replied that he insisted on finish- 
ing the affair immediately. I told him that I should 
very soon be ready ; that I did not mean to quit him, 
but would absolutely first settle some important busi- 
ness relative to the education of an only daughter, 
whom I tenderly loved; that it would take up but 
very little time, and I would immediately decide the 
affair in any way he chose, for I had brought both 
sword and pistols. 

" I rang the bell for pen, ink, and paper, desiring 
his lordship to conceal his pistols, that they might not 
be seen by the waiter. He soon after became half 
frantic, and made use of a thousand indecent expres- 
sions, that I should be hanged^ damned^ etc. etc. I 



aaid that I was not to be frightened, nor in the least 
affected by such violence; that God had given me a 
firmness and spirit equal to his lordship^s or any 
man^s; that cool courage should always mark me, 
and that it would be seen how well bottomed he was. 

^' After the waiter had brought pen, ink, and paper, 
I proposed that the door of the room might be locked, 
and not opened till our business was decided. His 
lordship, on this proposition, became quite outrage- 
ous ; declared that this was mere butchery, and that I 
was a wretch, who sought his life. I reminded him 
that I came there on a point of honour, to give his 
lordship satisfaction; that I mentioned the circum- 
stance of locking the door only to prevent all possi- 
bility of interruption; and that I would in every 
circumstance be governed, not by the turbulence of 
the most violent temper I had ever seen, but by the 
calm determinations of our seconds, to whom I im- 
plicitly submitted. His lordship then asked me if I 
would deny the paper. I answered that I would 
neither own nor deny it ; if I survived I would after- 
wards declare, not before. 

" Soon after he grew a little cooler, and in a sooth- 
ing tone of voice, said, ^I have never, I believe, 
offended Mr. Wilkes ; why has he attacked me ? He 
must be sorry to see me unhappy.' I asked, upon 
what ground his lordship imputed the paper to me? 
That Mr. Wilkes would justify any paper to which he 
had put his name, and would equally assert the privi- 




lege of not giving any answer whatever about a paper 
which he had not ; that this was mj undoubted right, 
which I was ready to seal with my blood. He then 
said he admired me exceedingly, really loved me — ^but 
I was an unaccountable animal — such parts ! bat 
would I kill him who had never offended me? etc. 
etc. etc. 

"We had after this a good deal of conversation 
about the Bucks Militia, and the day his Lordship 
came to see us on Wycombe Heath, before I was 
colmieL He soon flamed out again, and said to me, 
' You are a murderer, you want to kill me, but I am 
sure I shall kill you, I know I shall, by G — d ! If you 
will fight, if you will kill me, I hope you will be 
hanged ; I know you will.' 

" I asked if I was first to be hilled and afterwards io 
he hanged ? That I knew his lordship fought me with 
the King's pardon in his pocket, and I fought him with 
a halter about my neck; that I would fight him for 
all that, and if he fell, I should not tarry here a 
moment for the tender mercies of such a ministry, 
but would directly proceed to the next stage, where 
•my valet waited for me, and from thence I would 
make the best of my way to France, as men of honour 
were sure of protection in that country. He then told 
me that I was an unbeliever, and wished to be killed ! 
I could not help smQing at this, and observed that we 
did not meet at Bagshot to settle articles of faith, but 
points of honour ; that indeed I had no fear of d ing, 


but I enjoyed life as mucli as any man in it ; that I 
was as little subject to be gloomy or even peevish, as 
any Englishman whatever ; that I valued life, and the 
fair enjoyments of it so much, that I would never quit 
it by my own consent, except on a call of honour. 

" I then wrote a letter to your lordship respecting 
the education of Miss Wilkes, and gave you my poor 
thanks for the steady friendship with which you have 
so many years honoured me. Colonel Berkeley took 
care of the letter, and I have since desired him to 
send it to Stowe ; for the sentiments of the heart, at 
such a moment, are beyond all politics, and, indeed, 
everything else, except such virtue as Lord Templets.* 

^^ When I had sealed my letter, I told his lordship 
I was entirely at his service, and I again desired that 
we might decide the affair in the room, because there 
could not be a possibility of interruption ; but he was 
quite inexorable. He then asked me how many times 

* Wilkes was amply repaid for his evident great affection for 
his daughter. Her filial devotedness to him throughout his 
life ever stood forth in wonderful contrast to the hatred and 
detestation with which he was encompassed on all sides, so that 
people were warranted in thinking that, after all, he could not 
be so bad, to be able to secure the pure love and affection of his 

But John Wilkes had a wonderful power of fascination, so 
that, " in spite of his ugUness," he said, " he would undertake 
to make a conquest of any woman in five minutes." But that 
people should be able to say, ** See how his daughter loves 
him !" must be considered a glorious thing to the memory of 
John Wilkes. 


we should fire? I said that I left it to his choice; 
that I had brought a flask of powder and a bag of 

" Our seconds then charged the pistols, which my 
adjutant had brought; they were large horse-pistdfl. 
It was agreed that we should fire at the word of 
command, to be given by one of our seconds. They 
tossed up, and it fell to my adjutant to give the word. 

^' We then left the inn, and walked to a garden at 
some distance from the house. It was near seven, and 
the moon shone bright. We stood about eight yards 
distant, and agreed not to turn round before we fired, 
but to continue facing each other. Harris gave the 
word. Both our fires were in very exact time, but 
neither took efiect. I walked up immediately to his 
lordship, and told him that now I avowed the paper. 
His lordship paid me the highest encomiums on my 
courage, and said he would declare everywhere that I 
was the noblest fellow God had ever made. He then 
desired that we might be good friends, and retire to 
the inn to drink a bottle of claret together, which we 
did with great good humour, and much laughter. ♦ ♦ * 
Berkeley told me he was grieved for his lordship's 
passion, and admired my courage and coolness beyond 
his furthest idea ; that was his expression. * * * I have 
a million of other particulars to relate, but I blush al- 
ready at the length of this letter. ♦ * * 

^' I am, my dear Lord, etc. etc., 

" John Wilkes.'^ 


Sucli is the remarkable description of this aflFair 
between Earl Talbot and the ever-memorable John 
Wilkes. I have given the letter nearly entire, omit- 
ting only at the asterisks matter not germane to the 
subject. The characters of the men stand out too pro- 
minently in the narrative to require comment or eluci- 
dation ; but there were certain oddities about the afiFair 
which should not be passed over. First, the barba- 
rism of using ^^ large horse-pistols'^ in a duel ; se- 
condly, Wilkes's precipitation in at once advancing to 
Eari Talbot, before ascertaining, as the challenged 
party, whether his lordship was "satisfied/' thirdly, 
hi6 lordship's ending of the affair, with evident alac- 
rity, after Wilkes " avowed the paper," tendering no 

I am quite sure that no Frenchman would have 
'^ arranged" the matter after that fashion; but, of 
course, so much the better for the parties concerned, 
and those who were interested in the longevity of the 

Finally, standing as they stood, at the distance of 
only eight yards, little more than the length of an or- 
dinary drawing-room across the angles, and, of course, 
considerably diminished by the length of the pistols, it 
is quite incomprehensible how they missed each other, 
if they did not fire like many a recruit, shutting their 

The following are Millingen's remarks on this duel : — 
According to our modem notions of duelling, in this 



curious transaction one might be disposed to think that • 
neither of the parties was particularly anxious to fight. 
That Wilkes should have wished to sup in company 
with the person whom he had offended, the night be- 
fore the duel, would lead to a fancy that he contem- 
plated the possibility of a reconciliation. On the other 
hand, Lord Talbot, by his conduct, which was most 
ungentlemanly and outrageous, seemed disposed to 
bully Wilkes into a concession; and both parties 
talked of killing with a view to terrify each other. 
From the well-known character of Wilkes, no one 
could doubt his courage ; but his refusing to acknow- 
ledge himself the writer of the offensive article, which 
he after the duel admitted to have been his, was a 
shallow act, that nothing could justify but the insulting 
manner in which Lord Talbot put the question to him ; 
and most assuredly his lordship had the worst of the 
affair, since he was satisfied with a shot returned, al- 
though Wilkes acknowledged himself the writer of the 
insulting paragraph. The frequency of the duels that 
occurred in those days does not appear to have given 
them, generally speaking, a character of much delicacy 
or punctilious honour ; and they seem to have been the 
result of fashion more than of feeling.^' 

The duel of Wilkes with Lord Talbot was one of the 
first that occurred in the beginning of the reign of 
George III. Hostile meetings had now assumed a 
different character. Swords were no longer drawn in 
taverns, and other places of resort, on the spur of the 


moment ; and when, afterwards, the wearing of side- 
arms ceased to be customary, duels assumed a more 
regular form and arrangement. 

John Wilkes and Mr. Martin. 

(a.d. 1763.) 
Scarcely a year elapsed after his affair with Lord 

Talbot, when Wilkes got himself involved in another 
duel. In the ^ North Briton' he had given some 
characteristic sketches, supposed to allude to Samuel 
Martin, member for Camelford, and late Secretary to 
the Treasury ; the same gentleman who was afterwards 
the hero of Churchill's poem, ^The Duellist.' The 
paragraph was as follows : — '' The secretary of a cer- 
tain board, and a very apt tool of Ministerial persecu- 
tion, who, with a snout worthy of a Portuguese inqui- 
sitor, is hourly looking out for carrion in office, to feed 
the man of the insatiable vulture, imoy etiam in sena- 
tum venit, notat et designat unumquemque nostrumy\ 
he marks us, and all our innocent families, for beg- 
gary and ruin. Neither the tenderness of age, nor 
the sacredness of sex is spared by the cruel Scot." In 
a subsequent number of the periodical, Martin is 
again alluded to as ^' the most treacherous, base, sel- 
fish, mean, abject, low-lived, and dirty fellow that ever 
wriggled himself into a secretaryship.^ 


t " Yes, he even comes into the Senate, observes and singles 
out each of us " — ^Words of Cicero applied to Catiline. 


These '' elegant extracts " will gire an idea cf tke 
scmrilitj in rogne daring those times, widi a dad 
alwajs more or less impending ; and will show what aa 
immense improvement has been made among modern 
political writers, without the aid of dnelling, but 
simplj by the improvement of public taste and pnUie 

It was scarcely to be wondered at that Mr. Martin 
should resent these horrible imputations, which he did, 
of course, in a very violent and insulting speech in 
the House of Commons. 

Not content with what he had written and pub- 
lished against Mr. Martin, Wilkes sent him the follow- 
ing letter : — 

'' Sir, — You complained yesterday, before five 
hundred gentlemen, that you had been stabbed in the 
dark by the ^ North Briton.^ But I believe you were 
not 80 much in the dark as you affected and chose to 
be. Was the complaint made before so many gentle- 
men on purpose that they might interpose ? ... To 
cut off every pretence of this kind, as to the author, 
I whisper in your ear, that every passage of the 
^ North Briton' in which you have been named, or 
alluded to, was written by your humble servant, 

'^ John Wilkes/' 

To this letter Mr. Martin returned the following 
answer : — 

'' Sir, — As I said in the House of Commons yester- 
day, that the writer of the * North. Briton,' who had 


stabbed me in the dark was a cowardly as well as a 
malignaiit scoundrel, and your letter, of this morning's 
date, acknowledges that every passage of the ^ North 
Briton ^ in which I have been named, or even alluded 
to, was written by yourself, I must take the liberty to 
repeat that you are a mahgnant and infamous scoundrel, 
and that I desire to give you an opportunity of show- 
ing me whether the epithet of cowardly was rightly 
applied or not. 

'^ I desire that you may meet me in Hyde Park im- 
mediately, with a brace of pistols each, to determine 
our difference. I shall go to the Ring in Hyde Park, 
with my pistols so concealed that nobody may see 
them ; and I will wait in expectation of you for one 
hour. As I shall call in my way at your house, to de- 
liver this letter, I propose to go from thence directly 
to the Ring in Hyde Park ; from whence we may pro- 
ceed, if it be necessary, to any more private place. 
And I mention that I shall wait an hour in order to 
give you the full time to meet me. — I am. Sir, etc., 

"Samuel Martin .'' 

The tenor of this challenge infers the belief of the 
writer that it would take a great deal to make John 
Wilkes fight in earnest ; and that he was determined 
to get him out if he possibly could. This must have 
been Wilkes's conviction at its reception, and he must 
have felt that he had to do with a different sort of 
'f feUow '' to Earl Talbot. He went. 

When the gentlemen met in Hyde Park, they walked 


together a little while, to avoid some company which 
seemed coming up to them. They brought each a pair 
of pistols. When they were alone, the first fire was 
from Mr. Martin's pistol, which missed Wilkes, whose 
pistol only flashed in the pan. They then each took 
one of the remaining pistols. Wilkes missed; but 
the ball of Mr. Martin's pistol lodged in Wilkes's 
belly. He bled immediately very much. Mr. Martin 
came up and desired to give him all the assistance in 
his power. Wilkes replied that Mr. Martin had be- 
haved like a man of honour — that he was killed — and 
insisted on Mr. Martin making his immediate escape ; 
adding, that no person should know from him how the 
affair happened. Upon this they parted. Wilkes was 
carried home, but would not tell, as he had promised, 
any circumstance of the case until it was perfectly 
known. He only said to the surgeon that it was an 
affair of honour. The following day, Wilkes imagin- 
ing himself in the greatest danger, returned to Mr. 
Martin his letter, that no evidence might appear 
against him, and insisted upon it with his own relatives, 
that, in case of his death, no trouble should be given 
to Mr. Martin, for he had behaved as a man of honour, 
thus making amends for his previous ungentlemanly 

Wilkes was carried home in a chair. Dr. Brock- 
lesby and Mr. Graves, surgeon, were immediately sent 
for. Mr. Graves extracted the ball, which first struck 
Wilkes's coat button, entered his belly about half an 


incli below the navel, and sank obliquely on the right 
side, towards the groin, but did not penetrate the ab- 
domen. It was extracted from behind. 

When Wilkes was able to write, he sent notice by 
letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons of the 
condition of his health. The result was to Wilkes one 
of the greatest honours ever paid by the House to any 
man. The House of Commons made the foUowing 
order : — " That Dr. Heberden, physician, and Mr. 
Ca3sar Hawkins, one of His Majesty^s sergeant-sur- 
geons, be desired to attend John Wilkes, Esq., from 
time to time, at proper intervals, to observe the pro- 
gress of his cure ; and that they, together with Dr. 
Brocklesby and Mr, Graves, do attend this House, to 
report their opinion thereupon, on the 19th of January 
next, in case the said John Wilkes, Esq., be not then 
able to attend at his place.^^ This order was made on 
the 16th of December, 1763, exactly a month after 
the duel. 

The order was sent by command of the Speaker to Dr. 
Heberden, who sent it to Dr. Brocklesby, Wilkes^ s phy- 
sician, with a letter, desiring to kn,ow when he might 
attend the latter in a visit to Wilkes. Dr. Brocklesby 
sent the order of the House, with Dr. Heberden^s 
letter, to Wilkes, and requested him to appoint a time 
when they might wait on him. Wilkes sent a polite 
card to Dr. Heberden, saying that he was so well satis- 
fied with the attention and skill of Dr. Brocklesby and 
Mr. Graves, that he did not wish to see Dr. Heberden 

VOL. I. Y 



for some weeks. He sent a similar card to Mr. 

Immediately after the duel Mr. Martin proceeded 
to Paris ; and it is satisfactory to know that when 
Wilkes, on his recovery, visited that city, notes and a 
friendly visit were exchanged between them. 

The reader will probably have remarked that this 
duel was fought without seconds ; therefore, the con- 
duct of Wilkes in his hour of peril and subsequently, 
is much to his credit, and deserves the highest ap- 
proval. At the same time, it cannot be considered 
more than was absolutely due to the man whom he had 
so defiantly and stupidly provoked, after virulently 
attacking him anonymously, both directly and by 

The fearful result must have been a warning and a 
'^ caution ^^ to the malignant scribes of the day, and 
may serve as a memorial for all times to those who, 
shielded by their anonymity, should never forget the 
fate of John Wilkes, with a ball in his belly. 

Doubtless, however, it was, on the whole, worth a 
shot in the belly to receive such an honour as the 
House of Commons vouchsafed to him; the moral of 
which is, that there is no knowing what " the House,'' 
or a ^' Party '^ in it, will do for a master or a favourite. 

* The officious interference of the Speaker on this occasion 
was evidently offensive to the professional character, of Dr. 
Brocklesby and Mr. Graves ; and Mr. Wilkes, by his beha- 
viour, conveyed a severe censure on his conduct and that of the 
House ; but of course it was merely a political demonstration. 


It is the same with Kings, Queens, and Emperors, all 
the world over. 

Mr. Martinis conduct in this transaction had been 
highly honourable ; but the ^^pubHc,^^ which then adored 
Wilkes, was so much exasperated at the danger to 
which he had been exposed, that no credit was given 
to the spirit which his antagonist had displayed. On 
the contrary, it was remarked that Mr. Martin had 
taken no notice of the objectionable passage in the 
* North Briton' until about eight months after the 
pubhcation, and that in so public and official a manner 
before the House as almost to demand an interference. 
He was also accused of having during that period prac- 
tised every day at a target, Sundays not excepted ; and 
also with not having returned Wilkes's letter till a 
month after the duel, with a view, as it was suggested, 
had Wilkes speedily recovered, of making use of it in 
evidence of his being concerned in the ^ North Briton.' 
These aspersions were probably part and parcel of .the 
political rancour of the times. 

These were not the only instances in which Wilkes 
imperilled his life by his political and editorial out- 
pourings. He had not been long in Paris after his re- 
covery when a Scotch captain, of the name of Charles 
John Forbes, called him out, as the writer of several 
articles in the ^ North Briton ' against the dignity of 
Scotland. Wilkes pleaded other engagements of the 
same nature^ but expressed his willingness to give him 
satisfaction as soon as they were disposed of. The 

Y 2 


captain, in a wild manner, insisted upon an immediate 
meeting ; but not being able to find a second, or any 
one to vouch for his being a gentleman, as Wilkes 
seems to have i^ther cautiously required, the political 
hero declined accepting the challenge. The affair com- 
ing to the ear of the police, the parties were put on 
their parole not to fight within the French dominions. 
Hereupon Wilkes seems to have become quite chival- 
rous, and waiving his doubts about the gentility of the 
redoubtable Scot, he offered to meet him in Flanders j 
in any country in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America ! 
Soon after the return of Wilkes to London, Captain 
Forbes appeared there, with a view, as it was sus- 
pected, of fighting with him ; but the Ministry, upon 
getting notice of the arrival and intention of the Scot, 
very prudently caused it to be intimated to him that 
his presence could not but be very disagreeable, upon 
which the doughty champion of Auld Reekie thought 
proper to leave the kingdom, and afterwards entered 
the Portuguese service a desperate adventurer. 

Two Irish Brothers. 
(i..D. 1763.) 

A duel was fought in 1763 between two brothers, 
Irish gentlemen, in Kensington Gravel Pits, in which 
one received so dangerous a wound that his Hfe was 
despaired of. The quarrel arose out of the barbarous 
treatment of a sister by one of her brothers, she having 
married an officer against the wishes of her family. 


The Eeverend Mr. Hill and Cornet Gardiner. 

(a.d. 1764.) 

This duel took place in Epping Forest. Gardiner 
was a comet of the Carabineers, and Mr. Hill was 
chaplain of Bland^s Dragoons. The latter received a 
wound of which he died two days after. 

The reporter of this affair adds the following notice 
of the reverend gentleman : — 

^' Hill was an Irish gentleman, of good address, great 
sprightliness, and possessed of an excellent talent for 
preaching j but he was of rather too volatile a turn for 
his profession.^' 

Lord Kilmaurs and a French Officer. 

(a.d. 1765.) 

This duel occurred at Marseilles. Lord Ealmaurs, 
eldest son of the Earl of Glencairn, was one of the 
best-natured persons in the world, but had the mis- 
fortune to be rather deaf; and being one evening at 
the play, he talked rather loud to the person who sat 
next to him, as people under the misfortune of deaf- 
ness generally do. This happened to offend a French 
oflScer in the same box, who gave the usual " Pray be 
quiet '^ to his lordship, the French equivalent for which 
he repeated several times, of course without Lord Kil- 
maurs' hearing it. Upon this, our oflBcer, with a 
fierce look, shouted aloud Taisez-vous, ^^Hold your 
tongue,'' a most insolent reprimand anywhere, but 




especially in France. His lordship happened ta hear 
this, and observed the haughty air which accompanied 
the expression ; he therefore made as sharp a reply as 
it deserved, ^^ That as the officer had no right to com- 
mand silence there, he would show his contempt for 
his insolence by talking still louder,^' which he accord- 
ingly did. The officer soon after left the box, and as 
his lordship's ill star would have it, he left the box 
also, and went into another, to which the same officer 
happened to have retreated, but quite unintentionally 
and without the least thought of what had passed. 
Looking about him on entering the box, he cast his 
eyes on the officer without recollecting him. It seemed 
like bravado, and the Frenchman, fired with resent- 
ment, ran close up to him, saying, "What do you 
mean by staring at me V Lord Kilmaurs did not 
repeat the usual reply in such cases that " a cat may 
stare at a king,'' but he said firmly that he " thought 
he might look at anybody." To which the French- 
man in a rage exclaimed, he "was not to be so treated 
with impunity," and with the words, " come along," 
he dragged his lordship down into the street, and 
struck him on the shoulder with his naked sword. 
Upon this, the deaf lord drew his sword gallantly, 
made a pass or two, but was run through the body, 
the officer's sword coming out at his shoulder-blade. 
Those familiar with this gay and eastern port can 
fancy that scene in the open jplace hard by the Gane- 
biere, with the lighted cafes — ^not yet were the days 


of the gorgeous and fantastic Cafe Turc — ^and the 
coloured awnings from the windows fluttering in the 
air, and the great Mediterranean rolling up to the 
shore a few yards away. Shrieks for the watch, a 
crowd pouring fresh from the parterre, gathering 
round, and the Marquis de Pacquigny, at the head of 
his guard, hurrying up to the spot where the poor 
Englishman was lying. He was gasping for breath, 
choking for want of air, while the crowd, with the 
stupidity of all crowds, pressed in still closer upon 
him. But the French guard made a ring round him, 
and saved his life for once. He was still, however, 
gasping and struggling there, when a surgeon, who 
had been at the play, came up, slit open the collar of 
his shirt, had him lifted up, and some water given to 
him. He was all but dead, and could not speak ; but, 
wonderful to relate, in three days was perfectly well, 
or at any rate out of danger. 

The French officer took post immediately into the 
Pope^s dominions at Avignon, and a short detail of the 
affair was sent to the British ambassador at Paris, re- 
ferring it entirely to his Excellency to manage the 
matter as he thought proper, and he settled it accord- 
ingly by allowing it to drop as quietly as possible; 
the affair having been the result of a series of mis- 
takes, which no one could regret more keenly than the 
officer whose sword was so improperly employed. 

During the Peninsular war a similar calamity re- 
sulted from a mistake still more ludicrous on the part 


of one of the fighters, an Irish oflBicer. One day an 
Irish oflBicer came up to his comrades announcing that 
he had just seen " a fine field of anchovies" A loud 
burst of laughter was the consequence, after which one 
of the oflScers, an Englishman, said, ''Why, it beats 
Bruce and Miinchausen hollow V 

The Irishman was highly indignant at the reception 
of his piece of information, and singled out the speaker 
for his vengeance. 

" Sir, I wish you to know that I am not to be 
laughed at with impunity. I demand instant satis- 
faction," he said, and walked oflT indignantly, request- 
ing one of his gallant compatriots to attend him. 
All eflforts at pacification were made in vain ; a meet- 
ing had to take place. At the first fire the English* 
man dropped seriously wounded, and at the instant 
the Irishman rushed up to him, and with frantic ex- 
pressions of regret, exclaimed, " Ah ! sure, it was a 
field of cajpers I meant !" He had only just become 
conscious of his mistake. 

Lord Townshend and Lord Bellamont. 

(a.d. 1773.) 

The following duel was, perhaps, quite as ^' Irish " as 
the preceding; it occurred in the year 1773, and was, 
indeed, a model diflSculty. As an " aflTair of honour," 
arising out of no vulgar incidents of assault and bat- 
tery, or strong personal language, as one negotiated 
through all its stages with a rare delicacy, and finally. 


as one brouglit to a satisfactory issue upon the fields it 
takes rank among the highest on record. As exhibit- 
ing the supremest niceties which then regulated the 
code of honour among Irishmen^ it deserves our care- 
ful study. The details of this famous transaction, 
which filled the newspapers of the time, were some- 
thing in this wise : — 

Lord Townshend was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, 
lived in the Castle of Dublin, received all the nobility 
and " jontry^^ at levees and *^ drawn-rooms,^' and was 
sprinkled copiously with ^^ excellency/' and other pro- 
consular adulation. One morning came the Earl of 
Bellamont, — and note how melodious and romantic 
these Irish titles are, — craving audience, in company 
with other postulates. To him presently enters an 
aide-de-camp with word that he, the Earl, need not 
wait, for that his Excellency would not be at leisure to 
see him that day ; and then, turning to the other par- 
ties, bade them wait, as his Excellency would see them 
presently. No doubt this speech was flavoured with 
the true ante-room hauteur, and delivered about as of- 
fensively as it conveniently could. " Then,'' said the 
Earl of Bellamont, " his Excellency will be pleased to 
ascertain at what time he will see me. I have already 
waited several times by appointment, and have been 
sent away each time." To him presently the aide-de- 
camp returns with a fresh message, that the thing was 
impossible, and that he should come on Wednesday, 
which was the day for military matters. " Sir," said 


the Earl, "you will be good enough to inform his 
Excellency that, as a peer of the realm, I have a right 
to audience. But, if his Excellency does not know 
what he owes to me, I also know what I owe to my- 
self, and therefore will not wait upon him here or 

This last assurance was a mistake, for by-and-by 
his Excellency comes to London, and after some twelve 
days is waited on by another earl — ^Dr. Johnson's 
Lord Charlemont — on the part of the Earl of Bellas 
mont. This nobleman commenced matters by re- 
questing permission to read a statement on the part 
of his noble friend, which was at once accorded. No- 
thing could be in better taste than this document, or 
more graciously worded; it even commenced with a 
handsome acknowledgment: — "I wait on your lord- 
ship,'^ read the " elegant Charlemont,'' as Lord Ma- 
caulay calls him, " first to return your Lordship thanks 
for the recommendation to the King with which you 
honoured him, and for which it was his intention to 
have thanked you in person." He then apologizes 
for not waiting on him earlier, but he felt a reluctance 
to break in upon him when he would be engaged 
giving an account of his province to the King. He 
then recapitulated all the details of the scene at the 
castle ; stated that Lord Bellamont had resigned his 
commission in his Majesty's service, in order that he 
might with more propriety proceed in this delicate 
matter without being restrained by duty. 


Poor Lord Townshend, who had no doubt forgotten 
all about the transaction, then asked what apology 
Lord BeUamont required ? Upon which the '^ elegant 
Charlemont/^ prepared at all points, began to read, 
" The only apology that the nature of the affront will 
admit of, is that of asking Lord Bellamont^s pardon/' 
It was added, that there was no wish to hurry his 
Lordship, but that the answer would be expected at 
least one day before his Lordship left town. Lord 
Townshend replied, ^^ I cannot ask pardon, as it would 
be an acknowledgment of an offence I never intended/' 
But the two Irish noblemen had ^^ drawn the plead- 
ings '' between them too skillfully to admit of any 
loophole. "I am not at liberty,'' said the elegant 
Charlemont, ^^ to take back any answer to Lord BeUa- 
mont than that your lordship begs his pardon, or that 
your lordship desires to take time to consider it. I 
therefore entreat your lordship to reflect before you 
lay me under the absolute necessity of delivering 
another message to your lordship, which Lord BeUa- 
mont sends with the extremest regret, and which I 
shall deliver with equal reluctance." Lord Townshend 
having persisted in his refusal, Lord Charlemont then 
read the foUowing article : — ^^ I am enjoined by Lord 
BeUamont to state to your lordship, that he considers 
you divested of every principle that constitutes the 
character of a man of honour" 

This severe language was no doubt deUvered with 
the sweetness and affability of which the accomplished 


nobleman was capable. The situation, however, was 
getting to be grave, so Lord Townshend asked per- 
mission to call in a friend, and presently arrived 
Colonel Fraser. He then requested that the last 
passage might be read over again, for the benefit of 
the new comer, which was done. Then Lord Towns- 
hend proposed intrusting Lord Charlemont with a 
reply to carry back to Lord Bellamont. This was 
declined, the skilful diplomatist pleading that his in- 
structions were to receive no message, but that such 
must come through a channel of his Lordship's own 

This took place on Christmas-Eve ; and at half-past 
eleven on Boxing-Night — ^an appropriate festival — ^a 
letter was left at Lord Bellamont's, in Curzon Street, 
from Viscount Ligonier, politely requesting to know 
when it would be convenient to his lordship to receive 
a message from Lord Townshend, with which he 
should have the honour of charging himself. In con-» 
elusion, he had " the honour to be, 

" My Lord, 
^^ Your Lordship's most 
" Obedient and most humble servant, 

^^ Ligonier.'' 

To this Lord Bellamont replied that same night 
that he should be at home the whole of the next day. 

Accordingly, on Sunday morning at half-past eleven 
o'clock, ^^Lord Viscount Ligonier" arrived, and was 
about delivering his message, when Lord Bellamont 


interfered^ and hoped he might have permission to 
introduce his friend Lord Charlemont^ for^ as Lord 
Townshend had called in his friend Colonel Fraser^ 
to hear himself described in no very complimentary- 
language^ it was only equitable that he should have 
the same privilege. Lord Charlemont then came in^ 
and all preparations being now duly made^ ^^Lord 
Viscount Ligonier ^' began to deliver his terrible mes- 
sage. ^^ What will your Lordship say when^ notwith- 
standing the force of this message, I am authorized to 
assure your lordship, that Lord Townshend never 
meant to oflfend you ?" No doubt the Irish noblemen 
were a little staggered by this announcement, and 
after a pause, during which gloom and disappointment 
gathered upon their faces. Lord Bellamont said, ^^I 
confess, my Lord, this is more than I expected. But 
since Lord Townshend^s first care is to justify his 
intention towards me, and end his present situation, 
let him do it in such a manner as to justify me in 
releasing him fnmi that situation. The apology your 
lordship has delivered is not yet suflSicient.^' Then 
Lord Ligonier begged permission to return to his 
principal ; and by-and-by came back with another 
apology, shaped more satisfactorily, in which he re- 
peated that he never had meant to offend, and was 
sorry, generally, that the business had occurred. 

This last ^^ article ^^ was surely sufficient for the 
noble lord, for it made him play penitent for what he 
owned to having known nothing of. But the insati- 


able Irish noblemen were not to be balked. The Earl 
of Bellamont now requested permission to send for a 
fourth actor in the piece, who had not as yet " come 
on/^ but who was to figure, he said, in the responsible 
function of his ^^ second in the field'' — ^namely. Lord 
Ancram. Lord Charlemont's powers, it would appear, 
did not stretch beyond that of pacificator and diplo- 
matist ; the new negotiator had sterner duties. Ac- 
cordingly, Lord Ancram presented himself. The ori- 
ginal expression of regret, together with its amend- 
ment, was read over to him, considered gravely, and 
pronounced satisfactory. A wonderful instance of 
abnegation on the part of the new negotiator, con- 
sidering that it was a virtual renunciation of his new 
office and powers. The atonement oflfered was almost 
too complete to be satisfactory. The very handsome- 
ness of the apology disturbed him. There should at 
least have been qualification and protocoUing. There 
may have been a snake hidden in the grass. So, ou 
the whole, the noble earl requested permission to 
retire to an adjoining chamber to think the matter 
over. Presently he reappeared with an instrument 
drawn up carefully, embodying the apology given, and 
framed with great legal nicety. He presented this with 
some mistrust, as though he were doing something 
prejudicial to his own interest, but generously said 
he would not insist on this exact shape of words. 
Lord Ligonier, however, accepted it, took it with him, 
and went his way home to his principal. 


This affair of honour may be said to have been thus 
fetr happily piloted through all its stages ; and, though 
some nice perceptions may consider it to have been 
strictly an affair of honour spoiled, and, like abortive 
actions-at-law, to have gone off on a technical point, 
still it reflected credit on all the parties concerned. 
No doubt my Lord Townshend, thinking the business 
over, was not quite pleased with the gentle and sub- 
missive part he had been made to play in the matter ; 
but it was not fated to end in this lame and prosaic 
fashion. Awkward versions of the arrangements 
began to be whispered about the clubs. Therefore, 
when about three weeks afterwards, a paper was ten- 
dered to my Lord Ligonier for signature, embodying a 
version of the whole transaction, he gladly seized the 
opportunity of protesting against that version, and 
gave this very remarkable explanation ; — Who would 
imagine that the visit of ^^ Lord Viscount '^ Ligonier, on 
Sunday morning, was for the express purpose of 
challenging Lord Bellamont for the forcible and de- 
preciatory opinion which Lord Charlemont read out ? 
Who could suppose that he had been instructed pri- 
marily to call the noble Earl to account, and that the 
apologetical disclaimers of any intention to offend 
were mere prefatory matter ? Yet this is Lord Ligo- 
nier^s version. When he found this overture so well 
received, he thought it possible that the affair might be 
patched up in a conciliatory way. Still it is mentioned 
that he returned to his principal, and got him to 

aiuC pv:: a'.'5i li soM«*^sKi:iL '.if lae -hest^ iitrs it "ne 
'soMh. 4A r» ^rv>*ii«L -miu^ » -i*:ii Terr ^finsiissiE 

*ryl « ^urf^^rz,"^ \jsiLxrj^:^ ^urra^pA^ Tie jit^t? ic lii 

r/'rly^fid \\skf\\h\ff0OH Yields^ I»rd Betl^aK^ii cerz^r i^- 
%^u\tA \/r *n Imh geDtk^uftn, the Hon. Mr. I»EZ:c: 
ly/fd T'/irri*hCT]id br I»rd Visecmiit Lfgoiaer- T^ 
Ktfirf '^ lM\skXtifmt wtM dentined to be the snffenfr. f :r 
Uh rriiJiie^l hin adverwuy, who succeeded in lodgir^ tfs 
\fH\\ in the fl/^hjr part of the EarPs groin. He w&s 
\$\s94'aA m a cr^a^;h, but the pain of the wound was such 
that \tit \ihA to be moved to a sedan-chair. The sur- 
\ti'.ouH were lorjfjf in finding the ball^ and^ after a doubt- 
ful niniff^Ui, he was pron6unc<?d out of all danger, and 
finally r<j<;overed.* Never, however, was a fate more 
tloMarvisd than that of Lord Bellamont. 

♦ * All the Year Bound,' May 10, 1862.